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End of EDC plus Monday morning rush hour could equal traffic hell

After the music stops and thousands of festivalgoers leave the Electric Daisy Carnival, the hangover likely will be felt on valley roads.

The Nevada Highway Patrol expects Monday morning, when the throng of EDC attendees mixes in with the usual rush hour commute, to be a traffic nightmare.

Despite the $34 million, 5-mile widening of Interstate 15 between Craig Road and Speedway Boulevard in North Las Vegas completed last year by the Nevada Department of Transportation, expanding the highway from four to six travel lanes, the Highway Patrol expects heavy congestion on that stretch of the freeway.

Between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m., the majority of EDC revelers will begin to depart the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, mainly heading south on I-15. With it taking up to three hours to vacate the entire parking lot, the traffic effect will linger for the majority of the morning, according to the Highway Patrol.

“Las Vegas locals are urged to allow for more travel time and to avoid the I-15/U.S. 95 interchange during their commute on Monday morning,” trooper Jason Buratczuk said in a statement.

Highway Patrol troopers will be out in full force looking for suspected impaired drivers leaving the festival.

To add to the traffic snafu, the new I-15 high occupancy vehicle lanes and regulations go online Monday morning, which could add to the congestion.

Although local law enforcement enacted a 30-day grace period to cite HOV lane violators, officers will pull over those they see breaking one of the rules and educate them about the do’s and don’ts of carpool lanes.

“The expanded HOV system comes online at 6 a.m., Monday, as 155,000 festival goers from EDC return home,” said NDOT spokesman Tony Illia. “Many will be traveling along I-15 southbound toward Southern California, providing a great showcase opportunity to see the new HOV system in action.”

The Highway Patrol recommends that locals take surface streets if possible to avoid the freeway backup.

“Many locals know the surface streets and where they will take you, most tourists do not,” Buratczuk said in his statement. “Surface streets may get you to your destination quicker.”

For those who travel on the freeway and experience car trouble, the Highway Patrol urges motorists to make every effort to get to the shoulder safely and call *NHP immediately on their cellphones.

Dispatchers will send a trooper or Freeway Service Patrol member to the stranded motorist’s location for assistance.

If motorists are involved in minor traffic crashes without injuries, state law requires them to move their vehicle safely out of the travel lanes, so as not to impede traffic.

With many EDC attendees originating from nearby Southern California, delays also are expected at the state line in Primm, where traffic can back up for over 20 miles as Californians head home after popular Las Vegas weekends.

“Travelers should expect delays and be prepared for long waits on the freeway,” Buratczuk said. “Travelers are advised to have plenty of water and snacks in their vehicle should they be stuck in traffic for an extended period of time.

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

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