Leaving Las Vegas isn’t just a movie starring Nicolas Cage. On the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, it’s also a recipe for a 20-mile backup, state road police say.
“It is not uncommon to have a 20 mile back up leaving Las Vegas,” Nevada State Police Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Buratczuk said in an email. “Motorist(s) need to plan accordingly and prepare for long delays.”
It’s holiday traffic season along Interstate 15. And police, in addition to warning drivers of potentially annoying and lengthy delays, were also cracking down.
Starting Wednesday, the Nevada Highway Patrol and the California Highway Patrol joined forces to patrol the I-15 corridor between Las Vegas and California.
The agencies are concentrating their efforts on enforcing traffic infractions — even minor ones — on I-15 from the Primm area to St. Rose Parkway in southern Las Vegas.
The CHP will focus on I-15 south of Primm and will be using fixed-wing aircraft to measure vehicle speeds from the air.
“The goal of both agencies is to increase overall safety and to have zero fatalities on our roadways during this busy holiday week,” officials said in a press release.
Assisting the Nevada state troopers in the patrols Wednesday were officers from the Metropolitan Police Department, as well as the Henderson, North Las Vegas and Boulder City police departments.
The Nevada officers conducted 279 traffic stops on Wednesday. Those stops netted 291 violations. Of those, 254 were for speed, Buratczuk said.
A hit-and-run crash also resulted in a DUI arrest.
In California, the state troopers there carried out 71 traffic stops, with 45 of those earning the driver a speeding ticket.
Between the two state agencies, that’s 350 traffic stops with 299 speed violations.
Buratczuk said the portion of I-15 that takes drivers out of Las Vegas to California will be a “heavy stop and go” traffic situation on Sunday, stretching from Primm to north of Jean, as the Nevada Highway Patrol will be cracking down again on Sunday with another “maximum enforcement operation.”
I-15 is notorious for backups at the Nevada-California line, especially during holiday weekends. However, 1-mile transition lane that lets drivers merge from three lanes to two starting at the state line recently opened to traffic.