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I-15 traffic at Nevada-California border one step closer to relief

The several mile backup often seen on Interstate 15 at the Nevada-California border — most recently on Monday following the conclusion of the Electric Daisy Carnival — could soon see some relief.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) recently put a contract out for bid for a planned $12 million project on a stretch of I-15 southbound from the Nevada-California border to the California Department of Food and Agriculture Station. That’s where the road goes from three travel lanes to two, causing traffic bottlenecks.

The project calls for repaving and restriping the shoulder so it can become a third lane during high traffic times. Those would mainly be Sundays and Mondays following busy weekends in the Las Vegas Valley.

“The California Department of Transportation and the Nevada Department of Transportation continue to work together to deliver a project that will help improve operations of Interstate-15,” Caltrans said in a statement. “The goal is to open the first phase of the project, the expanded transition section, by late summer.”

Caltrans didn’t yet have a specific timeline for the project, but said it would have more clarity on that once a contractor is selected.

The expansion will add temporary relief for one of the most congested stretches of the highway that sees holiday weekend traffic back up more than 20 miles from Primm toward the Las Vegas Valley.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak and California Gov. Gavin Newsome announced the project last December at a joint press conference near the border of the two states.

With over 40 million people visiting Las Vegas annually and nearly 25 percent of those traveling between Southern California and Nevada, travel times on I-15 southbound on Sundays and Mondays between the state line and Barstow, California average between three to five hours. Those delays make the usually 4 ½ hour drive between Las Vegas and Los Angeles take as long as 10 hours.

Monday saw up to 12-mile backups on I-15 as EDC crowds traveled back to Southern California, according to Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada tweets.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who has been pushing for upgrades to I-15 for years said the project can’t come online any sooner, noting the backup EDC attendees saw Monday on the interstate near state line.

“I guess the drive back home from Electric Daisy to Southern California must’ve been a challenge yesterday (Monday) but hopefully will be better for next year’s fans who will be so thankful when AND IF the I-15 is widened,” Goodman said in a text message.

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

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