Richard Brian / Special to the Sun
Sunday, May 5, 2019 | 2 a.m.
When driving through Las Vegas in January with his wife and children, Raiders fan Joe Velarde knew he had to make a quick pit stop.
It wasn’t along the Strip or at Hoover Dam. It was at the construction site of the Raiders’ soon-to-be Las Vegas stadium.
“I had to see it,” Velarde said. “My plan is to come down for the first game. It’s exciting.”
On his Instagram account, Velarde posted pictures of himself, his wife, Nicole, and sons, Nicolas, 8, and Thomas, 3, outside the construction site. And the Velardes, from Grand Junction, Colo., aren’t alone.
Other Raiders fans are posting selfies and photos from the construction site just west of Mandalay Bay at Russell Road and Polaris Avenue. A graveyard security guard at the site said people take photos at all hours.
Lewis Parker, a resident of the United Kingdom, was visiting Las Vegas with his wife earlier this year when he wandered down to the stadium site for a photo, which was posted to his Twitter account.
“I’m an NFL fan, so I couldn’t resist a selfie with the stadium,” Parker said. “I’d love to come back and see a game in Las Vegas. The stadium is going to be awesome.
“The stadium looks like it’s going to be a great focal point for Vegas,” said Parker, a Browns fan by marriage as his wife is from Cleveland. “It’s going to be an imposing building. My only concern would be the volume of traffic on game days.”
Cameron Snyder, a spokesman for stadium builder Mortensen Construction, said people are welcome to take pictures but urged them to be careful.
“On a public street and outside of the construction site, that’s fair game,” Snyder said. “There’s no viewing platform inside or outside the fence line. However, workers do see folks that park and take pictures from the outside of the fence. The most important thing is for people to be safe, which includes obeying all traffic laws and being aware of activity happening around them.”
Once the Raiders arrive — they’re scheduled to start playing in Las Vegas for the 2020 season — Velarde said he hopes to make it down for one or two games a year.
“It’s about a seven-hour drive from Grand Junction. That’s not that bad,” Velarde said. "It’s an exciting time to be a Raiders fan.”