As crews continue to work uninterrupted on reconfiguring the Spaghetti Bowl interchange in downtown Las Vegas, it’s a little hard to believe that construction was delayed on nearby sections of Interstate 15 just 50 years ago.
A short story running in the April 5, 1968, edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal titled “Three Southern Nevada Road Projects Delayed” noted that cutbacks in federal funding hampered vital improvements for sections of I-15 running through the downtown area.
The projects were estimated at a combined $7 million to build sections of I-15 from Bonanza Road to Monroe Avenue, and from Bonanza to Charleston Boulevard.
The third project called for building what was then known as the Downtown Expressway, a mile-long road running between Las Vegas Boulevard and I-15, spurring west toward Rancho Drive. Of course, as the region and freeway system continued to grow, the Downtown Expressway was eventually incorporated into the modern-day U.S. Highway 95.
Hat tip to my Review-Journal colleague, Henry Brean, for discovering this item while researching stories about local residents mourning the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968.
So far, Project Neon has not run into any funding problems despite its $1 billion price tag, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation.
Last month, NDOT’s board of directors sold a third and final round of state bonds to help pay for the ongoing widening of I-15 between Sahara Avenue and the Spaghetti Bowl interchange.
The state Transportation board agreed in 2014 to finance Project Neon with three separate rounds of bond sales. The first in 2016 garnered $200 million, followed by a $185 million issuance in 2017 and a final sale this year of $140 million.
The balance comes from a mix of federal, state and local funds, NDOT spokesman Tony Illia said. At 63 percent complete, Project Neon remains on budget and on schedule for completion by July 2019, Illia said.
“The competitive design-build bidding process enabled an estimated $80 million in saved project costs with completion occurring nearly one year sooner than originally anticipated,” Illia said.
Ed from Henderson said the road gets pretty rough while driving along Lake Mead Parkway, between Boulder Highway and the U.S. 95 interchange with the southern 215 Beltway, and wanted to know whether there were any plans for resurfacing.
Illia, the NDOT spokesman, said that the agency is aware of the issue and is “taking proactive steps to remedy the problem shortly.”
Pays to be on time
Bill from Las Vegas said he noticed a neighbor’s vehicle tags had expired last August, but received a new January tag after a late renewal.
“Are there any fines for late registration renewals, or do they get a free ride at the expense of those who pay on time?” Bill asked in an email to the Road Warrior.
These scofflaw drivers definitely have a price to pay, said Kevin Malone, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.
Motorists have to pay prorated fees for the time their vehicle registration had lapsed, plus a monthly $6 “late” fee and 10 percent of the past-due governmental services taxes, Malone said. On top of that, the driver also has to pay the next year’s full fees in advance.
However, if the vehicle was not operating on public streets, the driver can sign an “affidavit of non-operation” to avoid those late fees for the time a vehicle was not driven, Malone said.
Wider Warm Springs
Ken from southwest Las Vegas noticed that traffic has increased substantially along Warm Springs Road, particularly between Dean Martin Drive and Decatur Boulevard, then again at Buffalo Drive.
“Are there any plans to widen this corridor, and maybe install a signal to replace the four-way stop at Warm Springs and Valley View Boulevard?” Ken asked.
Although a specific schedule was not provided, Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin said there are “long-range” plans to widen an even longer stretch of Warm Springs, running between Dean Martin and Durango Drive.
County officials will also review the intersection at Warm Springs and Valley View for a traffic signal study.
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Road work ahead
— Northbound Interstate 15 will be restricted at Tropicana Avenue from 8 p.m. Wednesday to 4 a.m. Thursday. Crews are making bridge repairs.
— Westbound Tropicana Avenue will be restricted at Interstate 15 from 8 p.m. Thursday to 4 a.m. Friday. Crews are making bridge repairs.
— The outside lane of southbound Interstate 15 is closed between Sahara Avenue and Flamingo Road through late April. Crews are erecting traffic management signs.
— The outside lane of northbound Interstate 15 is closed between Flamingo and Desert Inn roads through late April. Crews are erecting traffic management signs.
— Main Street is restricted between Bonneville Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard through May. Crews are working on a storm drain.
— The D Street onramp to southbound Interstate 15 is closed through mid-July. Crews are working on Project Neon.
— Sections of Bonneville Avenue, Charleston Boulevard, Grand Central Parkway and Martin Luther King Boulevard will have closed or disrupted lanes surrounding the Spaghetti Bowl as crews work on Project Neon through July.
— The Charleston Boulevard onramps to southbound Interstate 15 are closed until mid-October. Crews are rebuilding the intersection.
— Interstate 15 will be narrowed in both directions between Sahara Avenue and D Street until Nov. 20. Crews are widening the freeway.
— The ramp connecting southbound U.S. Highway 95 to southbound I-15 will be reduced to one lane and detoured through Nov. 20. Crews are widening I-15.
— The ramp linking southbound U.S. 95 to northbound I-15 is closed through Nov. 20. Crews are widening I-15.
— The Martin Luther King Boulevard onramp to southbound U.S. Highway 95 is closed until early 2019. Crews are building a high-occupancy flyover ramp.
— Gass Avenue will be restricted between Las Vegas and Charleston Boulevards through March 2019. Crews are making pedestrians and bicycle improvements.
— Both directions of U.S. Highway 95 are narrowed to a single lane between Skye Canyon Park and Paiute drives through July 12. Crews are building a new interchange bridge.
— Both directions of U.S. Highway 95 will be narrowed to two lanes at Elkhorn Road through December. Crews are building a new carpool ramp.
— Jones Boulevard will be restricted between Tropicana and University avenues through June 29. Crews are doing sewer work.
— Northbound U.S. Highway 95 will be restricted between Wyoming and Eastern avenue from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 4 a.m. Thursday. Crews are making bridge repairs.
— Northbound U.S. Highway 95 will be restricted between Greenway Parkway and College Drive from 8 p.m. Monday to 4 a.m. Tuesday. Crews are making bridge repairs.
— Center Street is restricted between Burkholder Boulevard and Lake Mead Parkway through June. Crews are making various road improvements.
North Las Vegas
— U.S. Highway 93 is restricted between Interstate 15 and Apex Power Parkway through June. Crews are widening the highway and upgrading an interchange.
— Nellis Boulevard is restricted between Cheyenne Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays through July. Crews are installing sewer pipes.
The average gasoline price Friday in the Las Vegas Valley was $3.02 per gallon. It was $3.03 in Nevada. The national average of $2.66 is up 1 cent from a week ago, up 13 cents from a month ago and up 27 cents from a year ago.