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West Hall expansion, underground people-mover work continue

Updated May 12, 2020 - 4:43 pm

Two Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority projects remain full speed ahead despite agency budget cuts.

The $980.3 million West Hall expansion is now 81 percent complete and the $52.5 million underground people-mover project is nearing another milestone, LVCVA President and CEO Steve Hill said Tuesday.

Both projects are expected to debut in January.

“Our expansion project, the West Hall, continues on schedule,” Hill said. “It’s obviously taking shape and it’s a beautiful building. Our customers are excited about it and we are as well.”

Meanwhile, the completion of the second tunnel on Elon Musk’s Boring Company project beneath the existing convention center is imminent.

“Maybe in the next day or two we’ll see the completion of the construction of the second tunnel,” Hill said. “And we’re preparing to begin paving on Tunnel 1.”

Crews completed the first of two parallel 4,500-foot tunnels Feb. 13. Dual tunnels are needed so that traffic can flow either direction simultaneously.

Three stations — one underground and two on the surface — also are underway. Above-ground Station 1, just east of the South Hall, and Station 3, near the southwestern corner of the West Hall, will enable Tesla vehicles that will be used with the system to access the tunnels from a ramp.

Station 2, to be located beneath the Convention Center’s Silver Lot near the building’s main entrance, is completely underground.

“That station has been excavated,” Hill explained. “We talk about building things from the ground up; Station 2 is being built from the ground down.”

Hill said an innovative construction process is being used for the Station 2 work.

“It’s excavated down by about 15 feet,” Hill said. “Boring Company is currently installing sheet piling that will really form the walls around the station itself. They’re driving these piles with hydraulic pile drivers down into the soil, down below what will be ultimately the floor of the station.

“It will then come back in and install the roof trusses and then we’ll excavate out below those roof trusses using the tunnels themselves as a way to remove the material that is currently where the station would be.”

Since early 2019 when the underground system was first conceptualized, Hill has said the people-mover project, known as the Convention Center Loop, could be the first step in developing an underground transit system throughout the city, particularly in the resort corridor and at McCarran International Airport.

Hill said Tuesday that he expects discussions would begin within a few weeks to consider a resort corridor system.

The LVCVA envisions the Convention Center system to operate free to all conventioneers. A resort corridor system would be a pay-per-ride operation.

Hill announced last month that most capital projects would be shelved as the gaming and convention industries dig out from budget deficits. Among the project casualties: a planned two-year, $540 million renovation project for the existing Convention Center building. Hill said that project may be revisited in two years.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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