Las Vegas Sun

November 19, 2018

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Project Neon:

Ramped-up Spaghetti Bowl work to resemble ‘Car-Nado’

New ramp closures for interchange improvements begin next week

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STAFF/FILE

Project Neon, the largest construction project in state history, is expected to improve the flow of traffic along the Spaghetti Bowl, where Interstate 15, U.S. Highway 95 and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard intersect.

Hurtling Corvettes attacking C-list actresses and causing mass destruction from above?

Not quite, but upcoming Spaghetti Bowl closures being dubbed “Car-Nado” by NDOT will begin a massive three-year snarl in daily commutes throughout the valley.

The major impact of Project Neon hits next week and the first four-month phase will restrict access from Interstate 15 to U.S. 95 North through next February. Closures and detours begin at 10 p.m. Wednesday.

“Over the next four months, we’re going to see a flurry on construction activity that will have a long-term impact on ramps,” NDOT project manager Dale Keller said.

The most significant changes will be:

• I-15 to U.S. 95 North: These two closures will cause the most heartburn for local drivers. The ramp from I-15 South to U.S. 95 North will close, forcing traffic to exit at Lake Mead Boulevard westbound and travel south on Martin Luther King Boulevard to reconnect to U.S. 95. Motorists traveling on I-15 North will still be able to access U.S. 95 North through a temporary “shoefly” ramp via the current Martin Luther King Boulevard ramp, which will shrink to one lane with a reduced speed limit.

• U.S. 95 North to Martin Luther King Boulevard: With the Martin Luther King Boulevard ramp being converted to deliver traffic onto U.S. 95 North, motorists wanting local access will continue to Rancho Drive and turn back onto U.S. 95 South to then exit at Martin Luther King Boulevard.

• I-15 to Martin Luther King Boulevard: Ramps from both I-15 North and South to Martin Luther King Boulevard will shut down. The detour for northbound traffic will be exiting at Rancho Drive and turning around onto U.S. 95 South to exit at Martin Luther King Boulevard. Southbound motorists will get off at Lake Mead Boulevard west.

“We do anticipate lengthy delays,” Keller said.

The next four months of Project Neon represent the beginning of a phase expected to last through March 2018. Widening work on Interstate 15 will come next, followed by construction of HOV flyover ramps between I-15 and U.S. 95. Project managers hope to complete all work by July 2019. The largest public works project in Nevada history, Project Neon will cost nearly $1 billion and is funded mainly through state revenue bonds.

The closures are required in order to demolish the 22-year-old bridge carrying cars from I-15 North to U.S. 95 North. The bridge will be reconstructed slightly to the north to accommodate the flyover structure.

“There’s no way to avoid closures,” NDOT spokesman Tony Illia said. “It’s simply the price of progress.”

Illia said department officials modeled the “Car-Nado” name after the Los Angeles area’s “Carmageddon,” which California officials trademarked.

“There will be sequels to the ‘Car-Nado’ event,” Illia said.

NDOT will coordinate with the Regional Transportation Commission’s FAST traffic control system, adjusting timing of traffic signals on local streets handling more cards because of the detours. Keller suggested drivers use the Waze app for real-time traffic updates.

Further details can be found at Project Neon. A Twitter account (@NDOTProjectNeon) will disseminate information, as will NDOT’s Facebook and LinkedIn feeds. You can contact Project Neon at 702-293-NEON.

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