EDITORIAL: Cactus interchange completion

Valley drivers seldom get good news about their commutes. If the highways aren’t packed, they’re really packed because of crashes or construction. To get anywhere on time, drivers must expect delays.

Fortunately, there were no delays in the construction of the badly needed Interstate 15 interchange at Cactus Avenue. In fact, the interchange opened a week ago, two months ahead of schedule. Contractor Las Vegas Paving completed the $52 million project in 17 months.

“On some of these projects, you can’t begin work on one item until another is completed,” Nevada Department of Transportation project engineer Sami Yousuf told the Review-Journal’s Richard N. Velotta. “On this project, there weren’t too many things that were dependent on the completion of another part. We were able to do some things simultaneously and everything came together very efficiently.”

The project provides immediate relief to the growing southern valley and a direct connection between southwest Henderson and Southern Highlands. Previously, residents in those areas had to pack Las Vegas Boulevard and Dean Martin Drive — which have just one travel lane in each direction in that part of town — to get onto I-15 at Silverado Ranch Boulevard or St. Rose Parkway. The Cactus project will ease traffic at both those interchanges, as well as all surrounding streets.

The valley is still years away from starting many highway improvements needed right now, but the Cactus interchange is a significant box to check off the list. Congratulations to Las Vegas Paving and NDOT for exceeding expectations, and here’s hoping for more deadline-beating performances.

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