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Labor Day forecast for Las Vegas: Busy but not like normal holiday

Updated September 4, 2020 - 10:19 am

Labor Day weekend is expected to draw additional visitors to Las Vegas Valley roads, but don’t expect the volume seen during the normally busy holiday weekend.

With Las Vegas a hot spot for such three-day weekends, valley roads, especially Interstate 15 and the resort corridor, are expected to see additional congestion. How much is still up in the air.

“As traffic volume around the valley is still below last year’s mark due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s unknown just how many visitors will make their way to Southern Nevada this weekend,” said Tony Illia, Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman. “It’s still unknown what incremental traffic increases are likely during this Labor Day with the COVID-19 pandemic, although added vehicles are still expected along our local roadway network.”

NDOT, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and AAA this year didn’t publish Labor Day travel outlooks as they have in past years.

LVCVA spokeswoman Maria Phelan said the tourism agency didn’t create a 2020 outlook “in light of the fluid environment.”

Last year, 325,000 visitors were expected in Las Vegas for Labor Day, with hotel room occupancy rates at 96 percent, according to the convention authority.

With visitor confidence growing as more resort properties reopen on the Las Vegas Strip, traffic volume around the valley has grown with it but still lags the numbers seen last year.

“Since late March, when weekend traffic volumes along Interstate 15 at the California border fell by 75 percent … things have slowly rebounded, as businesses have adapted and reopened, traffic counts at Primm are still down by about 20 percent from historic visitor volumes,” Illia said.

Those who venture to Las Vegas from Southern California via I-15 should anticipate backups Monday as many visitors head back home after the three-day weekend.

Sundays on recent normal weekends have seen vehicle congestion on I-15 southbound, with backups of 10 to 15 miles, according to reports from the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. That traffic can be a bit deceiving as the recently relocated agricultural checkpoint plays a role in the backups, Illia said.

Traffic backups of more than 20 miles have been seen in years past on the Monday following Labor Day.

Lyft credits

For those who do celebrate Labor Day weekend in Clark County, Lyft is offering a total of $1,000 in free ride credit for visitors.

The amount, made available by the Las Vegas Coalition for Zero Fatalities, can pay for about 200 rides but marks a significant decrease in the usual free ride credits offered by the ride hailing company.

In previous years, Lyft offered up to $20,000 in free ride credit for a busy-volume weekend in Las Vegas, a further sign of the expected low turnout this weekend.

Those looking to take advantage of the offer can enter SAFELDW2020 for $5 toward each of two rides between 12 a.m. Monday through 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. New and existing users are able to take advantage of the offer while supplies last.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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