Progress slow on I-15 express lanes

Constructing express lanes to ease congestion on Interstate 15 has been a bumpy ride for the Department of Transportation, which hopes to make motorists’ commutes a little smoother by opening completed stretches.

The express lanes are designed to guide motorists from Sahara Avenue to the Las Vegas Beltway without interference from merging traffic.

When the project is finished, tubular markers will separate two express lanes from those lanes from which motorists can exit along the way. It will be illegal for motorists to leave the lanes before the end of the express zone.

Rather than wait for the completion of the project, Department of Transportation engineers have decided to allow motorists to use the express lane stretches that are traffic-ready.

"In order to make it easier on traffic, we will reopen these lanes," said Mary Martini, an engineer with the Department of Transportation.

Express lanes are not reserved for high-occupancy vehicles, so even a car with just a driver and no passengers can use them. They are designed to scoot traffic past a five-mile stretch of exits and on-ramps. And they are expected to speed things up for motorists simply passing through town, such as commercial truck drivers.

The project has been under way for months, but the Transportation Department ran into snags below the railroad crossing near Spring Mountain Road.

Transportation officials hope opening some of the express lanes will ease traffic on Interstate 15 while crews fix the lanes below the railroad bridge.

Starting next week, Interstate 15 southbound from Sahara to Spring Mountain will consist of an express lane and three lanes for general traffic. From Spring Mountain to the Las Vegas Beltway, motorists will have two express lanes and three lanes for general use.

Northbound, one express lane and four lanes for general traffic will be available from the Beltway to Spring Mountain. From Spring Mountain to Sahara, there will be five general purpose lanes and no express lane.

For now, the express lanes will be marked by solid, double white lines, and they will be enforced by Nevada Highway Patrol officers.

The express lanes were expected to open this fall. Now Martini is reluctant to say when they will be fully operational.

"If all goes well, we’ll be looking at March or April," she said. "I don’t want to tell the public such and such. The worst-case scenario would be several months from now."

During construction, crews working on the $21.5 million project have hit several trouble spots, including running into more groundwater than anticipated.

The project includes widening Interstate 15 and building new footings to support the railroad bridge.

Concerns about the water’s effect on the safety of the railroad prompted representatives from the Union Pacific Railroad Company, based in Omaha, Neb., to visit the site on numerous occasions.

"They need to be sure what we’re doing is safe," Martini said, adding that all of the work has to meet the railroad company’s standards.

Also, the project was delayed when crews unexpectedly ran into fiber optic cables near the railroad crossing.

Adding to the continuing delays is that work must stop each time a train passes, which is at least four times a day, Martini said.

The opening of the express lanes does not mean the freeway will finally be congestion-free.

About the same time the lanes are expected to open, work will start on the south Interstate 15 project.

That project will include new streets flanking the interstate, similar to frontage roads, and the construction of a new interchange at Blue Diamond Road, extending Sunset Road over the freeway and widening the Warm Springs Road bridge.

During that project, which is expected to be finished at the end of 2011, traffic will be disrupted between Tropicana Avenue and Blue Diamond Road.

Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at apacker@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2904.

News Videos
CCSD Superintendent address alleged racially motivated threats at Arbor View
CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara gives update on alleged racially motivated threats against Arbor View High School, and says such threats will not be tolerated. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Super Bloom Near Lake Elsinore, California
Crowds packed the hills near Lake Elsinore on Saturday to capture a rare selfie amidst the super bloom of poppies turning the landscape purple. The super bloom was caused by the larger rainfall this year. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fiery accident in Las Vegas
A three-car accident on Spring Mountain Road around 6:30 pm on Monday night
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Stardust implosion anniversary
Twelve years ago today, the Stardust Resort and Casino was imploded. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Lawsuits filed against security contractors at Nevada National Security Site
Two lawsuits were filed today against the current and former government security contractors for the Nevada National Security Site, one on behalf of Jennifer Glover who alleges sexual discrimination and assault and the other on behalf of Gus Redding who alleges retaliation after he gave statements supporting Glover’s claims. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New housing option helps Las Vegas moms keep kids while kicking drugs
WestCare Nevada Women and Children’s Campus in Las Vegas has added a new transitional housing wing for women who have completed the inpatient treatment at the behavioral health nonprofit to help them as they go through outpatient treatment, shore up their finances and prepare to secure long-term housing. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Teenager in critical condition after being struck by an SUV in Henderson
Authorities were called about 2:45 p.m. to the scene in the 2100 block of Olympic Avenue, near Green Valley Parkway and Sunset Road. The teenager was taken to University Medical Center in critical condition. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Water Question Part 3: Conservation loves a crisis
Future growth in the Las Vegas Valley will rest almost entirely on the community’s ability to conserve its finite share of the Colorado River.
The Water Question Part 7: How much can we grow?
Many experts agree that Southern Nevada can continue to grow, so long as residents are willing to do what needs to be done to stretch our crucial resource as far as it will go.
The Water Question Part 6: How many people can Southern Nevada’s water sustain?
The number can swing wildly depending on a host of variables, including the community’s rates of growth, conservation efforts and the severity of drought on the Colorado River.
Mylar Balloon Demo
NV Energy presented a demonstration Wednesday to depict the damage that can be caused by the release of Mylar balloons.
Educators dressed in red have taken to the streets to demand more for their students.
Educators dressed in red have taken to the streets to demand more for their students. Educators from around the State are bringing the Red for Ed movement to the steps of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, NV, and to the Grant Sawyer Building in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Nature Conservancy Ranch
The Nature Conservancy just bought the 900-acre 7J Ranch at the headwaters of the Amargosa River, north of Beatty. The property could become a research station, though ranching will continue.
Swift water rescue at Durango Wash in Las Vegas
On Thursday, February 14, 2019, at approximately 8:42 a.m., the Clark County Fire Department responded to a report of a swift water incident where people were trapped in the Durango wash which is located near 8771 Halcon Ave. Personnel found one person who was trapped in the flood channel. The individual was transported to the hospital in stable condition. Video by Clark County Fire & Rescue.
Flooding at E Cheyenne in N. Las Vegas Blvd.
Quick Weather Around the Strip
Rain hits Las Vegas, but that doesn't stop people from heading out to the Strip. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Aaron Semas, professional bull rider, talks about his traumatic brain injuries
Aaron Semas, professional bull rider, talks about his traumatic brain injuries. The Cleveland Clinic will begin researching the brains of retired bull riders to understand the impact traumatic brain injuries have on cognition. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Matt Stutzman shoots arrows with his feet
Matt Stutzman who was born without arms shoots arrows with his feet and hits the bullseye with remarkable accuracy. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Secretary of Air Force Emphasizes the Importance of Nellis AFB
US Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson visited Nellis Air Force Base during Red Flag training and described how important the base is to the military.
Former Northwest Academy student speaks out
Tanner Reynolds, 13, with his mother Angela McDonald, speaks out on his experience as a former student of Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley, which includes abuse by staff member Caleb Michael Hill. Hill, 29, was arrested Jan. 29 by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of child abuse.
Former Northwest Academy students speak out
Tristan Groom, 15, and his brother Jade Gaastra, 23, speak out on their experiences as former students of Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley, which includes abuse by staff and excessive medication.
Disruption At Metro PD OIS Presser
A man claiming to be part of the press refused to leave a press conference at Metro police headquarters, Wednesday January 30, 2019. Officers were forced to physically remove the man. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Clients at Las Vegas’ Homeless Courtyard talk about their experience
Clients at Las Vegas’ Homeless Courtyard talk about their experience after the city began operating around the clock. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Las Vegas parts ways with operator of homeless courtyard
Jocelyn Bluitt-Fisher discusses the transition between operators of the homeless courtyard in Las Vegas, Thursday Jan. 24, 2019.(Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police and Raiders partner with SafeNest
Las Vegas police and the Raiders partner with SafeNest on Project Safe 417 (the police code for domestic violence is 417). The program partners trained SafeNest volunteer advocates with Metropolitan Police Department officers dispatched to domestic violence calls, allowing advocates to provide immediate crisis advocacy to victims at the scene of those calls. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
North Las Vegas police chief discusses officer-involved shooting
North Las Vegas police chief Pamela Ojeda held a press conference Thursday, Jan. 24, regarding an officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 21. The incident resulted in the killing of suspect Horacio Ruiz-Rodriguez. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Volunteers gather for annual Clark County homeless count
Volunteers gather for the annual Southern Nevada Homeless Census, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who can understand hospital price lists?
Lists of costs for procedures, drugs and devices are now posted the websites of hospitals to comply with a new federal rule designed to provide additional consumer transparency. Good luck figuring out what they mean.
People in Mesquite deal with a massive power outage
People in Mesquite respond to a major power outage in the area on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
ad-high_impact_4
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing