The Nevada Department of Transportation, which collaborated with the city of Las Vegas on the project, received the American Public Works Association of Nevada 2015 Project of the Year Award in a category for transportation projects with a value of $5 million to $25 million.
“The F Street project reopens a vital cultural and economic corridor for local residents and businesses, while creating an iconic new gateway for the Westside,” NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon said in a statement at the time of the opening. “This has been a great collaboration between the state, city and local community.”
The project was judged against other state projects with the award handed out at the association’s Sept. 23-25 fall conference at Lake Tahoe.
Tensions were high in the community when the transportation agency announced the planned closure of one of the primary links between West Las Vegas and downtown.
Leaders said the closure stung because it symbolically smacked of segregation at a time when the downtown Las Vegas environment was brightening with construction of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute and a new City Hall on the horizon.
Transportation engineers felt there would be no problem closing F Street because there were streets flowing into the downtown area at Martin Luther King Boulevard and Main Street.
F Street was closed in September 2008 for the widening of Interstate 15. Community leaders appealed to the city and state to reopen the connection, which was blocked as a result of the widening project.
Eventually, city and state officials were persuaded to reopen access and officials in 2009 got behind Assembly Bill 204, which directed the city and state to reopen the underpass.
About 200 West Las Vegas residents and dignitaries attended a public reopening ceremony on Dec. 11.
The project, overseen by general contractor Las Vegas Paving with Atkins as engineer-of-record, includes one lane of median-divided vehicle traffic in each direction between the D Street connector and McWilliams Avenue and also accommodates pedestrians and bicyclists.
The project additionally resurfaced F Street for a smoother ride and added new sidewalks, curbs and gutters. Other enhancements included lighting and landscaping north to Washington Avenue, along with two decorative 50-foot towers modeled after the historic former Moulin Rouge, the state’s first integrated casino.
The aesthetic work sets the project apart.
A dozen interpretive panels celebrate West Las Vegas’ history. Corridor murals depict civil rights and community leaders Martin Luther King Jr., Lubertha Johnson, Charles Kellar, former state Sen. Joe Neal and community leader Woodrow Wilson. Panels also celebrate the Moulin Rouge, plus famed Las Vegas entertainers Sammy Davis Jr. and Nat King Cole.
Contact Richard N. Velotta at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta