Las Vegas motorists must suffer through a paving marathon on Interstate 15 this weekend, but they should see a smooth ride Monday morning, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation.
After the commuters go home and the tourists pour in this evening, the round-the-clock paving starts at midnight. The freeway will be choked down to one open lane at times during the work -- northbound on Saturday and southbound on Sunday.
Still, the $6 million project is expected to be completed 10 days early despite rainy days that slightly hindered the work.
Mary Martini, district engineer for the department, said that rainy weather did not significantly slow the project because crews were still able to complete sealing work.
The repaving job between the Spaghetti Bowl and Tropicana Avenue started on Sept. 11 and was initially slated for completion on Oct. 20. Martini cited motorists' cooperation in finding alternate routes so that crews could work more freely and faster.
To expedite the project on the state's busiest freeway, the department scheduled this weekend's around-the-clock work, which starts at midnight today.
Crews will start with the middle lanes on northbound Interstate 15 and then move to the southbound lanes early Sunday.
At times during the weekend, only one lane might be open on the side where crews are working. Martini said the newly paved lanes will be open to traffic as soon as possible. It takes about three hours for the rubberized asphalt to dry.
"We saw a weekend when there weren't many events in town, and that provided a perfect opportunity," she said. She added that despite the wet weather, crews opted to move forward because motorists were already warned of the lane closures and the temperature is expected to be ideal.
Joe Miller, regional manager for Fisher Sand & Gravel, the project's contractor, said it could be finished 10 days earlier than expected because he brought in additional crews from Arizona and Reno. Subcontractors also brought in additional crews so that work could be done around the clock.
"The production was better than we anticipated," he said.
Transportation engineers initially feared that the $6 million price tag would go up if crews worked weekends, but Martini said Thursday that the early finish balances out the cost.
Shortly after all lanes open to traffic Monday, the candlesticks marking the express lanes will be reinstalled. In three weeks, crews will apply the final lane striping.
This is the second project in Southern Nevada in which the Department of Transportation has used rubberized asphalt, which is made with recycled tires. The interstate had not been fully repaved in 15 years. Crews will pave the southern portion of the freeway when the design-build project near Interstate 215 is completed next year.
Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at email@example.com or 702-387-2904.