Friday, Dec. 1, 2000 | 10:08 a.m.
Political leaders, government officials, real estate developers and construction contractors gathered Thursday to open the newest stretch of the Las Vegas Beltway.
The four miles of road extend the southern leg of the beltway from Tropicana Avenue to Sahara Avenue, with additional interchanges at Flamingo Road and Town Center Drive in Summerlin.
The opening extends the functional length of the Beltway to 23 miles, a project that has cost $303 million over six years of construction. Ultimately, the beltway is planned to circle two-thirds of the valley, west from near Nellis Air Force Base, through North Las Vegas, through Summerlin and back east to Henderson.
The portion from Henderson to Sahara Avenue is now in place. Construction companies are working to extend the beltway north to Charleston Boulevard by the end of January and to the Summerlin Parkway by late February or early March and to Cheyenne Avenue by early fall.
Daniel C. Van Epp, Howard Hughes Corp. president, said the latest opening is a credit to the Las Vegas Valley. A number of local governments and agencies have pulled together to build the beltway, he said.
Van Epp noted that the beltway will bring motorists into the heart of Summerlin's planned Town Center, a commercial and residential area.
The Howard Hughes Corp. put $58 million into the effort, Van Epp said, through the granting of 400 acres of right-of-way and excavating the depressed area that is now the beltway, Van Epp said.
The Howard Hughes Corp. developed Summerlin, the master-planned community on the valley's west side. Van Epp said about 50,000 people now live in Summerlin, but that number will grow to 180,000 in the years to come.
Also attending the road opening were County Commissioner Erin Kenny, Las Vegas Councilman Michael Mack and County Manager Dale Askew.