Saturday, Oct. 8, 2005 | 11:33 a.m.
The $85 million Interstate 215 interchange at U.S. 95 in Henderson is expected to be completely open Oct. 24, officials said Friday.
But they warn that, as with the last stages of any birth, there is one last bit of pain to endure. On Friday afternoon eastbound traffic on I-215 was slowed to a crawl for miles approaching the nearly completed interchange.
The congestion is expected to continue -- and lessen -- in coming days, depending on which direction you need to go.
First the good news: The ramp from U.S. 95 southbound to I-215 westbound is to open Monday, and the ramp from I-215 eastbound to U.S. 95 northbound is to open Tuesday, according to the Web site for the project, www.215515project.com.
But it also warns that the U.S. 95 southbound on-ramp at Lake Mead Parkway will be closed through Oct. 17, forcing a detour to Horizon Drive or Sunset Road's on-ramps.
The entire interchange is scheduled to open Oct. 24, Scott Magruder, a Nevada Transportation Department spokesman, said.
In the meantime, drivers who want to see what they are headed into at the interchange can view Web cam shots of the project on the Web site.
"It was the last segment of the southern (end) beltway that's tying the two interstates together," said Scott Rawlins, an NDOT engineer in Carson City.
"We have two types of interchanges. We have an arterial street to the east in Lake Mead Parkway and the 215 Beltway to the west. It allows for free-flow movements for interstate traffic to the west and north and south and arterial movement that heads to the east."
Henderson Councilwoman Amanda Cyphers said residents are thrilled to see the massive project wrapping up. The work began two years ago.
Cyphers said that not only will it allow drivers to quickly travel between U.S. 95 and I-215, it should also alleviate traffic on Horizon Ridge Parkway, which is being used as a shortcut for drivers going between the southern leg of Interstate 515 and the beltway.
The interchange also improves regional traffic flow, particularly for the CANAMEX corridor, a free trade route from Sonora, Mexico, to Alberta, Canada. In Nevada, CANAMEX follows U.S. 93 from Hoover Dam to Henderson, then U.S. 95 to Interstate 15 north to Mesquite.