Published Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 | 2 a.m.
Updated Monday, Aug. 14, 2017 | 5:03 p.m.
The first portion of the Interstate 11 project is set to open this week.
The Nevada Department of Transportation will open the southbound lanes of I-11 from Foothill Drive in Henderson to Silverline Road in Boulder City on Wednesday.
Originally slated to open at the end of July, the opening was delayed a couple of weeks because of weather conditions.
The 2.5-mile-long, $83 million first phase includes four lanes and a full diamond interchange at Railroad Pass including a loop ramp.
The opening will affect access to Railroad Pass hotel and casino. Southbound motorists must use the U.S. Highway 93/95 interchange to Searchlight for casino access. Meanwhile, motorists exiting the casino must make a U-turn at Wagonwheel Drive to head back toward Boulder City.
“We just ask the motorists and commuters to just be cautious, there’s still construction going on in that area, still a lot of work to do to get that full interchange open near the Railroad Pass casino there,” NDOT director Rudy Malfabon said. “The good news is at least we’re getting that new bridge and ramp open to Boulder CIty, so (there’s) more direct access.”
Although the construction has created a few obstacles to overcome, Railroad Pass owner Joe DeSimone said he's been able combat those issues with marketing.
“We had the left-hand turn closed off for a month, and it really didn’t affect our business too much, ” DeSimone said. “We also have the travel center going up on site as well. So, the confluence of two jobs, I-11 and the truck stop that I’m building, have presented challenges, but nothing we haven’t been able to overcome with some promotion.”
The $10 million Railroad Pass Travel Center, which will be located adjacent to the casino, will feature an 8,000 square-foot Chevron-branded convenience store with 18 pumps for vehicles, nine pumps for semitrucks, charging stations for electric and hybrid vehicles, 110 parking spaces and a truck scale. Plans to add a quick-service restaurant are also in the works.
“It sits on 24 acres,” DeSimone said. “I think it will complement the casino very well.”
Crews will begin to pour the foundation for the facility next week, with the expected opening occurring in December.
The interchange being built in the area also led to the creation of Railroad Pass Road. The signs for the road went up recently and will be visible when the southbound lanes open.
Although the construction has created challenge, the payoff will be far greater than any issue created by the construction, DeSimone said.
“In 2018 when the whole bypass is done, there is one exit by the bridge and one exit by Railroad Pass, so we’re going to get every truck that comes through there,” he said. “We’ll have plenty to offer them with the travel center going by then.”
Phase 2 is being constructed by the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) and is on schedule to be complete in fall 2018. This portion of the project includes 12.5 miles of new roadway through the Eldorado Mountains.
Once the initial phases of I-11 are complete, it will relieve congestion that typically builds up in Boulder City on U.S. Highway 93.
NDOT cautions that motorists should use caution while travelling through the work zone, heed construction signage and take alternate detour routes.