First phase of I-15 widening project completed easing bottleneck traffic at Nevada state line
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Las Vegas visitors driving back to California on Interstate 15 after Thanksgiving may benefit from the beginnings of work done to improve traffic flow at the California-Nevada state line.
On the Nevada side of the interstate, there are three lanes, but historically on the California side, it narrowed down to two lanes. The bottleneck typically causes congestion, especially after high-volume visitation weekends.
But Caltrans told FOX5 Monday that they have now completed work on a so-called “one-mile transition lane,” on the California side of the state line heading south. The project was first announced by the golden state’s governor last December.
“Repaving, restriping and using that shoulder as a third lane during peak hours,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-California.
Almost a year later, the completion of the one-mile widening is Caltrans’ first phase of that project.
“All construction area signs are being removed this week,” said Carolina Rojas, Public Information Officer, Department of Transportation, State of California.
Now, the shoulder on the first mile on the California side of the state line can be used as a part-time lane.
Rojas said the expanded section will be used during peak congestion, primarily on Sundays and Mondays, heading from Nevada to California.
Las Vegas leaders and tourism stakeholders previously told FOX5 they are happy that something is being done after so many years of inaction.
“I am so thrilled that the governors have finally gotten together to take a look and begin to address something,” said Carolyn Goodman, Mayor of the City of Las Vegas.
“It gives us an opportunity to start a real conversation with California,” said Steve Hill, President and CEO, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “Having a pilot program, having something that is a trial, allows us to engage with each other and say, ‘Is this working? Might other things work?’”
Still, for now, only a one mile stretch has been widened, south of state line. Newsom promised the interstate would be widened for five miles.
Caltrans told FOX5 Monday, “the project will rehabilitate five miles of pavement.” Rojas added that they do not have any additional details to share regarding the remaining efforts of this project.
Last year, Newsom responded to questions about a permanent third lane.
“The longer-term strategy of making a third lane permanent, or providing more relief, we have to work with our partners, including CHP,” said Newsom.
Rojas said clarity on the timeline for the next phase of the project is “expected in the coming months.”
According to state officials, more than 11,000,000 visitors drive in and out of Las Vegas each year on I-15. That is enough people to fill Allegiant Stadium more than 169 times over.
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