Guest written by Tony Illia, NDOT Public Information Officer in Las Vegas
Interstate 15 is receiving some much-needed care and attention thanks to the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). Later this month, construction commences on nearly $11 million worth of improvements to a heavily traveled 16-mile section of southbound I-15 between Jean and Primm. It’s a stretch that routinely backups with vehicle gridlock on Sundays as weekend warriors return home to southern California. (Las Vegas Paving Corporation is the project’s general contractor).
Plans call for milling-and-paving enhancements, creating a smooth and safe traveling surface that also preserves the roadway’s long-term integrity. The project will place about 100,000 tons of total asphalt or enough blacktop to pave more than 6,200 average-sized driveways. And although it won’t add any new travel lanes or additional capacity, the project will ensure the interstate’s good working order. Routine upkeep can avoid premature failure and pricier, more extensive repairs in the future.
Poor or mediocre maintained roadways can cost the average driver $533 in automotive repairs annually, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Nevada recognizes the value of continued maintenance. In fact, the department allocates significant resources toward its annual roadway preservation program, thereby ensuring the state’s continued status as having some of the nation’s best roads and bridges.
Other planned project improvements call for installing a weigh-in-motion system at Milepost 8, plus undertaking a full roadway rehabilitation of less than a half-mile of State Route 161 (Goodsprings Road) underneath the Jean interchange between Mileposts 6.90 and 7.34. Additionally, the Jean interchange will undergo pavement and bridge repairs as well as drainage improvements that will help reduce future maintenance efforts. Also, crews will erect almost 2 miles of new guardrail, plus tortoise fencing repairs, frontage road upgrades, new signage, and Intelligent Transportation Systems enhancements.
The maintenance project addresses a critical piece of interstate that serves as southern Nevada’s socio-economic lifeline, acting as a key conduit for safely moving millions of visitors as well as goods and materials to the Las Vegas Valley annually. In fact, the stretch of impacted interstate averages 60,900 vehicles daily pre-pandemic, with heavy truck travel accounting for 10 percent of total traffic.
The project will reduce Interstate 15 southbound to one travel lane between Jean and Primm in Clark County from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly, Monday nights through Friday mornings, starting the evening of May 24 and concluding the morning of September 2. Construction activity is purposefully scheduled during workweek nights to minimize traffic impacts. The contractor will operate in a two-mile-long active work zone starting in Jean and moving south towards Primm.
Motorists, meanwhile, face double penalties for speeding through work zones. Nevada Revised Statute 484.3667 doubles the penalty for speeding, up to $1,000, in any marked road construction or maintenance work zone when workers are present. The project will finish in full before year’s end.
Motorists should use caution while travelling through the work zone, heed construction signage, and take alternate detour routes, if possible. NDOT works with Waze to inform the public about planned highway restrictions, but unscheduled construction changes, closures and restrictions are possible due to weather or other factors. For the latest state highway conditions, visit nvroads.com or call 511 before driving.