October 20, 2016 - 1:15 pm
Brace yourselves for Car-nado.
That’s the name Nevada Department of Transportation officials coined for a whirlwind of long-term closures set to start Halloween weekend for the $1 billion widening of the Spaghetti Bowl interchange in downtown Las Vegas known as Project Neon.
“Car-nado is a play on terms that we came up with to talk about a way we can emphasize what our closures are going to be,” Dale Keller, NDOT’s project manager for Project Neon, said Thursday morning at a news conference.
Two more major, yet-to-be-named closures are planned for 2017 and 2018, but NDOT officials on Thursday focused on Car-nado.
The Interstate 15 southbound and northbound ramps connecting to northbound U.S. Highway 95 will be closed from 10 p.m. Oct. 26 until late February. Additionally, the I-15 ramps to Martin Luther King Boulevard will be closed during the same time frame.
The lengthy closures are needed so that crews can demolish a 22-year-old, two-lane bridge over Martin Luther King Boulevard that currently connects northbound I-15 to northbound U.S. Highway 95. The bridge will be rebuilt just north of its current location, making room for a flyover ramp that will be designated for high-occupancy vehicles.
“Yes there are closures, yes there are impacts, but accessibility into downtown and the Las Vegas Strip is open,” Keller said.
To ensure that accessibility, NDOT designated several detour routes:
■ I-15 South to U.S. 95 North: Vehicles will exit at westbound Lake Mead Boulevard, then head south on Martin Luther King Boulevard to connect with the northbound U.S. Highway 95.
■ I-15 North to U.S. 95 North: Drivers will be detoured to the Martin Luther King Boulevard exit ramp, then directed onto a temporary, one-lane ramp leading to the northbound U.S. Highway 95.
■ U.S. 95 North to Martin Luther King Boulevard: Drivers will be directed to Rancho Drive, then turn around and head back south on U.S. Highway 95 to access Martin Luther King Boulevard.
■ I-15 North to Martin Luther King Boulevard: Traffic will be directed to westbound Charleston Boulevard, then north on Martin Luther King Boulevard.
■ I-15 South to Martin Luther King Boulevard: Traffic will be directed to westbound Lake Mead Boulevard to access Martin Luther King Boulevard.
NDOT officials said that they are using Lake Mead Boulevard as the primary detour because it is a major thoroughfare, and to respect those living near the I-15 exit to Washington Avenue. Drivers were also advised to come up with their own alternate routes and downloading traffic navigation apps for their smartphones.
The number of workers will double to about 100 full-time construction employees focusing on the Project Neon site, Keller said. Crews started preparing the site by closing the Martin Luther King Boulevard exit from the northbound U.S. Highway 95 from 10 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday.
Contact Art Marroquin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0336. Find @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.