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Get ready for another traffic jam on I-15 at Primm

Updated August 30, 2023 - 7:27 pm

Visitors planning to drive into and out of the Las Vegas Valley on Labor Day weekend are encouraged to avoid Interstate 15 near the California-Nevada state line if at all possible.

As is already well-known by many who have braved the trip home to Southern California on previous Labor Days, motorists should avoid Interstate 15 southbound on Monday, according to the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.

Heavy traffic is expected between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday near the Nevada-California border, despite Caltrans opening a “part-time” travel lane this week. The lane, which sits on the right shoulder of I-15 just south of the Nevada-California border, is open to traffic between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. every Sunday and Monday. Caltrans previously opened a 1-mile transition lane in 2021 just south of the border of the two states.

“Safety is Caltrans’ top priority,” said Caltrans spokeswoman Carolina Rojas. “Crews installed route signage on Interstate 15 to indicate lane days and times of operation.”

The Nevada Department of Transportation also posted messages on portable electronic signs and on permanent electronic signs on the Nevada side of I-15, which display information for approaching southbound traffic, Rojas added.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman — one of the most vocal advocates of expanding the interstate on California’s side — hopes more is done to help alleviate the traffic congestion regularly seen following holiday weekends.

“While we look forward to Brightline in our future years, we need access and action now,” Goodman said in a text message to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Brightline West, which Goodman alluded to, is planning a high-speed rail line that would link Southern Nevada and Southern California in the I-15 right of way. If federal funding is secured this fall, plans call for Brightline to break ground this year on the project, with operations possible as soon as 2027.

Residents who plan to travel out of Las Vegas by catching a flight at Harry Reid International Airport can do so with free parking at the Centennial Hills Transit Center and South Strip Transit Terminal, which offers direct bus transit service to Terminal 1 at Reid airport, via the Centennial Express (CX) or Route 109 Maryland Parkway and to Terminal 3 via the CX.

Travel preparedness

AAA anticipates a 5 percent increase in roadside assistance requests this Labor Day weekend, with 7,262 calls expected from California.

Flat tires, lockouts and dead car batteries are the most common calls for help from motorists to AAA.

“Regular vehicle maintenance can help drivers avoid a breakdown while also extending the life of a vehicle,” John Treanor, AAA Nevada spokesperson said in a statement. “A pre-trip inspection can give drivers extra peace of mind before a road trip.”

Before hitting the road this holiday weekend AAA Nevada recommends drivers ensure their vehicles are in proper shape in order to decrease the chance of car troubles.

Recommendations for drivers include:

■ Inspecting battery cables, clamps and terminals for cracks or signs of corrosion

■ Inspecting belts and hoses for cracks, bulges and excessive wear

■ Properly inflating tires to recommended pressure and check for bulges and uneven tread wear

All motorists should not only ensure they keep themselves and their occupants safe but also those around them.

Motorists should stay fully alert and avoid distracted driving. Extreme caution should be used when encountering emergency vehicles, tow trucks, Nevada Department of Transportation vehicles or disabled vehicles.

“Many drivers do not fully grasp the danger faced by those working or stranded on roads and highways,” Treanor said. “If you see something, anything, on the shoulder ahead, slow down and move over, every vehicle, every time.”

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

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