A $78 million road project touted as a key piece to current and future travel in the area is now complete.
The project improved a 6-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 95 between Ann and Kyle Canyon roads in northwest Las Vegas.
U.S. 95 was expanded from four to six lanes from Durango Drive to Kyle Canyon Road, while carpool access ramps were constructed at Elkhorn Drive.
To increase the flow and safety of motorists traveling to and from the Mount Charleston area, a diverging diamond interchange was constructed at Kyle Canyon Road that temporarily shifts traffic to the left side of the road, allowing traffic flow through two pairs of unimpeded left turns onto and off the freeway.
“This project relieves congestion, improves efficiency and enhances safety in fast growing northwest Las Vegas, while providing capacity for future growth and development,” said Nevada Department of Transportation Director Kristina Swallow. “Currently, over 52,000 vehicles daily travel through this corridor; however, traffic is expected to more than double over the next two decades.”
Diverging diamond interchanges provide more efficient movement of vehicles as opposed to ramps where motorists must slow and then speed up to make a freeway-to-freeway connection, according to NDOT.
The project was hailed as an important step toward bringing Interstate 11 north to the Reno area by Sue Klekar, Nevada division administrator for the Federal Highway Administration.
I-11 is slated to share the alignment of U.S. 95 through the Las Vegas Valley, with 112,000 vehicles expected to travel on the stretch of highway daily in the next 20 years, according to Klekar.
I-11 will ultimately be the primary route for truckers hauling freight from Mexico north into Canada, she added.
The project also placed 11,200 feet of concrete box storm drainage and created 400 feet of open channel between the Centennial Bowl and Grand Teton Drive for the Regional Flood Control District.
Although the widened lanes along U.S. 95 are complete, along with storm drainage, lighting and signage improvements, the Kyle Canyon interchange and Elkhorn Road HOV ramp won’t open to the public until Monday.
Other enhancements include placing decorative rock, erecting signage and lighting, and installing Intelligent Transportation Systems and nearly nine miles of barrier rail.
The project was underwritten by a combination of federal ($42.4 million), local ($33.4 million) and state funds ($2.2 million).
“This project helps create a reliable transportation network that enhances cultural and economic access in the northwest valley,” said Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown, who represents District C. “It establishes a new visual gateway corridor into Mount Charleston.”