Las Vegas Sun

August 26, 2019

Currently: 92° — Complete forecast

As Project Neon winds down, official envisions faster Las Vegas travel times



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

Kristina Swallow

Kristina Swallow

Nevada Department of Transportation Director Kristina Swallow said on Monday that Las Vegas drivers will soon begin to see improvements from Project Neon in the form of quicker commute times around the area of the project near downtown.

Billed as the largest public works project in Nevada’s history, Project Neon, when it’s complete in July, will have widened 3.7 miles of Interstate 15 between Sahara Avenue and the Spaghetti Bowl interchange.

“I’m so excited that all of the roads are open and the public can start seeing the benefits of Project Neon,” Swallow said. “We’ve all been suffering through the construction together, and it’s good to see that we’re almost out.”

As Swallow noted, there’s still “a little bit of work” to be completed, but the project, about two decades in the making, was 96% done as of Monday.

Mostly, that work left to be done includes the activation of more than 40 “active traffic management signs” (also referred to as smart lanes), some paving and asphalt touch-ups and landscaping work.

“What those active traffic management signs will help do is allow for a more reliable commute,” Swallow said. “What we really care about is when a person leaves their house for work, they know how long it’s going to take them to get to their job. If it’s 20 minutes one day and 40 the next, that’s a problem. These signs tell drivers there’s a crash and help move them around the crash.”

When it comes to crashes, Swallow also thinks Project Neon’s completion will help cut down on the number of wrecks.

“We’re going to see an immediate reduction,” Swallow said. “We’ve historically had three crashes per day and, in this quarter, we’re going to see that number go down.”

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said the earlier-than-expected completion of Project Neon will end up saving taxpayers about $80 million. The project will end up costing the state about $940 million.

“I look forward to coming back in a couple of months to celebrate the completion of Project Neon,” Sisolak said. “I spent 10 years on the (Clark) County Commission and six years as the chair of the commission with my office right across the street. The workers, more than 600 of them, have done an outstanding job, especially when you look at working through the heat of 115 degrees in the summer.”

The 3.7-mile corridor is considered the busiest stretch of roadway in the state. It sees, according to NDOT, about 300,000 vehicles per day.

NDOT has calculated that travel delays will be reduced by around 30% thanks to the project.