Las Vegas Sun

September 23, 2018

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Pedestrian bridge for stadium prompts new look at I-15 improvement project

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Steve Marcus

Construction continues on the Raiders stadium west of Mandalay Bay Tuesday, July 24, 2018.

Transportation officials are going back to the drawing board on plans to upgrade a stretch of Interstate 15 near the Las Vegas Stadium site.

To accommodate a separate plan to build a pedestrian bridge providing stadium access from the Strip, Nevada Department of Transportation officials are re-examining a $200 million project that includes reconstruction of the I-15 Tropicana interchange and the addition of high-occupancy vehicle ramps at the Harmon Avenue and Hacienda Avenue overpasses.

“That may not be the best location for the HOV off ramp,” said Rudy Malfabon, NDOT director, referring to Hacienda Avenue. “It might be some other location — Harmon is in the mix too — but we want to keep plugging along on that.”

The high-occupancy ramps were planned before the stadium was conceived, so NDOT has been working with the Raiders, casino properties and other stakeholders to figure out the best option for the HOV lanes, Malfabon said.

As the HOV lane portions stalls, however, an environmental clearance study for the Tropicana Avenue interchange is moving forward as planned.

Built in the 1960s, the Tropicana Interchange design is outdated and in need of an upgrade for not only vehicle traffic, but for pedestrians as well. With T-Mobile Arena on the east side of the interchange and such business as a heavily trafficked In-N-Out on the west side, the junction is the site of significant foot traffic, officials said.

The work at Tropicana also will create a possibility to widen I-15, which currently is hemmed in by the bridge supports for the current interchange.

“A lot of people come to me (saying), 'Why can’t we add a lane getting on I-15 north from the 215 Beltway?' They want two lanes,” Malfabon said. “We’ll be able to address that once we fix the interchange. We’ll have two lanes from I-15 and have two lanes on that frontage road system.”