Las Vegas Sun

October 20, 2019

Currently: 69° — Complete forecast

Work this weekend plunges downtown traffic into Project Neon’s final phase



The Nevada Department of Transportation is installing Active Traffic Management signs as part of Project Neon, as shown in this rendering.

The “Main Event” phase of Project Neon gets underway this weekend.

The work kicks off the third and final phase of Project Neon — a nearly $1 billion, 4-mile-long widening of Interstate 15 from the U.S. 95 interchange to Sahara Avenue that broke ground in 2016. It is timed to not interfere with NASCAR weekend as it will occur overnight this weekend, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Sunday morning, from midnight to 7 a.m., southbound U.S. 95 will be closed at Decatur Boulevard. Also, the freeway on-ramps at Decatur, Valley View Boulevard, Rancho Drive and Martin Luther King Boulevard to southbound U.S. 95 will all be closed from 10 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday.

When the freeway reopens at 7 a.m. Sunday, motorists will notice the following access changes that will remain in place through December:

• The ramp from southbound U.S. 95 to southbound Interstate 15 will be reduced to one lane and detoured.

• Martin Luther King Boulevard on-ramp to southbound Interstate 15 will remain closed.

• Martin Luther King Boulevard on-ramp to southbound U.S. 95 will remain closed.

• Frontage road between Rancho Drive and Martin Luther King Boulevard will remain closed.

The bulk of the Main Event work kicks off Monday morning, which includes Interstate 15 from Sahara to Washington Boulevard being reduced to three lanes in each direction, narrowing to two lanes each way near the Spaghetti Bowl. The restrictions are set to last 250 days, NDOT said.

ATM sign testing

Testing began this week on the first half-dozen Active Traffic Management signs, which will go up along U.S. 95 — three in each direction — between Valley View and the Spaghetti Bowl.

The six signs will go live at the end of next week, according to Tony Illia, NDOT spokesman.

The steel gantry-supported ATM signs are initially going up in groups of three, in areas surrounding the busiest traffic area in town.

The full color dynamic message signs provide real-time information to motorists about detours, accidents and traffic restrictions. They are more sophisticated than the existing signage — they can show travel times to freeway exits and can be programmed to inform motorists of lane closures and blockages that occur with traffic accidents or construction. Instead, the ATM signs will show the status of every lane as motorists approach the Spaghetti Bowl.

“The U.S. agencies and countries who have invested in ATM systems are realizing significant reduction in primary and secondary crashes, with a minimization of injuries, fatalities, delays and congestion,” Illia said. “The greatest benefit is crash reductions, especially on weekends. This is attributable to ‘non-commuter’ drivers who may not be familiar with the area, which is especially relevant in Las Vegas where large numbers of tourists drive the I-15 corridor daily.”

The next ATM signs will be placed near D Street, Washington Avenue, Bonanza Road, Desert Inn Road, Spring Mountain Road, and Twain Avenue on Interstate 15 and at Rancho Drive, Avalon Circle, Valley View Boulevard, Seventh Street, Casino Center Drive and City Parkway on U.S. 95.

Eventually, the ATM signs will stretch to Silverado Ranch Boulevard on Interstate 15 by the completion of Project Neon.

The largest signs resemble auxiliary scoreboards found in ballparks and stadiums, measuring 13-feet-tall by 77-feet-wide, according to Illia.