Thursday, May 10, 2018 | noon
There’s no denying it—traffic jams are the worst. When combined with roadway construction projects, summer heat and confused visitors in rental cars, driving frustrations can hit a fever pitch. Fortunately, with extra planning and patience, traffic around construction sites can be managed with relative ease.
Here are some of the Valley’s current and upcoming freeway projects, and tips for dealing with them.
Though roadway construction may be inconvenient in the moment, remember this: Improving our infrastructure now means less traffic, better roads and a much smoother ride in the future.
Some of the most talked-about projects
Project Neon: Project Neon will widen I-15 between Sahara Avenue and the Spaghetti Bowl interchange. This 3.7-mile stretch is the busiest piece of highway in the state. It carries 300,000 vehicles every day—about 10 percent of the state’s population—and experiences 25,000 lane changes each hour. It’s the single largest public works project in Nevada’s history, even larger than Hoover Dam.
• A direct-connect carpool flyover linking U.S. 95 to I-15 in each direction
• Changing the I-15 express lanes to HOV lanes
• New I-15 HOV interchange (called the Neon Gateway)
• Reconstruction of the Charleston interchange
• Martin Luther King Boulevard realignment with a flyover on Charleston Boulevard
• Grand Central Parkway extension to Industrial Road
• From July 2016 through March, the construction has been focused on local streets, U.S. 95 and I-15 ramp braiding. From March through November, the construction focuses on the I-15 mainline and should be completed by July 2019.
• Martin Luther King Boulevard on-ramps to I-15 and U.S. 95 southbound will remain closed through early 2019.
• The D Street on-ramp southbound is closed now through mid-July.
Summerlin Parkway (Phase 3): This project includes widening and adding new lanes as well as ramp improvements between Town Center Drive and Rampart Boulevard, the northbound 215 off-ramp to the eastbound Summerlin Parkway off-ramp at Anasazi Drive, and from Rampart Boulevard to Buffalo Road in the eastbound direction.
The project should end in August.
I-15 at Starr Avenue: This project will complete the construction of Starr Avenue between Las Vegas Boulevard to the east and Dean Martin Drive to the west. It will build an I-15 bridge over Starr Avenue and includes other improvements such as new sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes and traffic signals.
It’s scheduled to end mid-year 2019.
U.S. 95 widening between Ann Road and Kyle Canyon: The project will expand the highway from four lanes to six between Durango Drive and Kyle Canyon Road, construct carpool access ramps at Elkhorn Road and build an interchange at Kyle Canyon.
It’s scheduled to end fall 2019.
Tips for navigating construction areas
• Watch your speed: Start to slow down when you see detour and/or warning signs, and always follow the posted speed limits. Maintain a consistent speed with traffic flow so you’re not caught off-guard if traffic suddenly stops.
• Minimize distractions: Distracted driving is dangerous. When driving in construction zones, the hazards of distracted driving increase exponentially, so it’s especially important to put down your phone, pause conversations and focus on the road.
• Stay calm: Losing your cool can be dangerous. Remind yourself that roadway construction drives long-term growth, improves communities and employs tens of thousands of people in the Valley.
• Manage your space: Don’t tailgate. If traffic stops suddenly, you may not have time or room to get into another lane.
• Beware of workers: Slow down or stop when you’re signaled to do so, and be extra careful when driving in an area where you can see construction workers on the road.
• Plan for delays: Traffic jams don’t have to ruin your day if you work extra time into your schedule. The Waze traffic app can help you find better routes to avoid congestion. If you have questions about traffic projects in your area, you can visit SeeingOrangeNV.com or call 702-928-CONE (2663).
• Follow the coned lanes: Don’t veer off or try to speed around a vehicle. You risk driving into head-on traffic or endangering construction workers.
Construction workforce in Nevada
According to data from the U.S. Census, Nevada has about 90,000 construction workers and growing. The more projects created, the more jobs and job opportunities, bolstering our economy, lowering our unemployment rate and contributing to the overall livability of our communities.
What is fuel revenue indexing?
Fuel Revenue Indexing (FRI) is an initiative that generates funds every time a motorist buys gas in Southern Nevada.
FRI dollars from 2014-16 are expected to fund approximately $700 million for 225 transportation projects and create more than 9,000 jobs. The 10-year extension of FRI is expected to raise up to $3 billion and create up to 25,000 jobs.