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Crews reopen Interstate 15 after repaving project

Fisher Sand & Gravel was able to repave Interstate 15 and reopen the state’s most traveled freeway 10 days ahead of schedule.

That figure is important to commuters who spent nearly a month driving through congestion or desperately searching for alternate routes. But it is not the most impressive number associated with the $6 million project or the marathon paving weekend that wrapped up early Monday.

Between midnight Friday and early Monday, crews removed 405,226 feet of paint on the freeway. That is 80 miles worth, or about the distance between Las Vegas and Baker, Calif. It was replaced with about 35 miles of paint, which might indicate that the interstate was due for a touch-up after 15 years. Motorists often complained about overlapping and conflicting lane markers.

Crews also replaced 36,940 raised pavement markers.

If more proof is needed to show the freeway needed a new surface, consider this: Workers also used 94 miles worth of material to seal cracks before the new asphalt was applied. That is enough sealant to draw a line between Las Vegas and Kingman, Ariz.

Eight workers were stationed at a Sloan hot plant, mixing the crumb rubber and asphalt. The material was hauled into town by 27 trucks. By the end of the weekend, 10,300 tons of crumb rubber had been placed on a total of six lanes of I-15 between the Spaghetti Bowl and Tropicana Avenue.

It took 93 crew members working a total of 1,517 hours — only 67 of that was laying down the asphalt. The hot plant ran for 34 hours, churning out the rubberized asphalt; 26 pieces of equipment were used to repair the road, lay the asphalt and strip the freeway.

When residents hit the freeway Monday, the combination of a holiday and a smoother and quieter ride made the commute far less agonizing than the trip on I-15 had been the last several weeks.

Fisher Sand & Gravel started repaving the freeway on Sept. 11, and the anticipated finish date was Oct. 20. Because of last week’s rain showers, the project was thrown slightly off schedule. Nevada Department of Transportation engineers opted to close all but one lane of the freeway and embark on an around-the-clock paving job to quickly wrap up it up.

Crews began with the northbound lanes on Saturday because more sealing work had to be done in the southbound lanes. On Sunday, the work was switched over to the southbound lanes. By 5 a.m. Monday, the equipment, workers and lane controls had vanished, and the only evidence of the weekend-long commotion was fresh black asphalt.

Fisher was awarded a $1 million bonus for finishing the project early.

Here is one more number, and it is far less exciting: three. That is the number of nights that are needed to paint the final striping on I-15. That job is expected to start later this month, and work hours will be 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. only.

Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at apacker@reviewjournal.com or 387-2904.

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