Fun Walk opens new MLK segment to Las Vegas residents Saturday

On a sweltering Saturday morning, construction crews cleared a quarter-mile stretch of Martin Luther King Boulevard, between Ellis Avenue and near Charleston Boulevard, to open a future highway bridge to pedestrians.

Lane dividers still needed paving and metal guards created a temporary barrier where a concrete wall stood incomplete. Project officials promised by Labor Day weekend a mile-long segment including Saturday’s walkable portion would be finished.

“The town is growing. Las Vegas is just booming,” Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Illia said. “And then you take a look at the visitor numbers. Last year, we hit a record at 43 million visitors.”

The department’s Saturday morning Fun Walk aimed to give residents a taste of a 3.7-mile Interstate 15 reconstruction between Sahara and the Spaghetti Bowl.

By about 9 a.m. Saturday, only a few people, mostly nearby residents and those with Transportation Department connections, made it to the event. About 100 people were expected to stroll through before 11 a.m. Saturday, Illia said.

Project Neon, the largest and most expensive single highway project in Nevada history, is slated for completion in July 2019. If all goes as planned, the project should slash travel time by 30 percent and increase safety by making it less possible for drivers to merge across several lanes at once.

“We’re going to do something called ramp braiding, so if you have to get off at the next exit, then you have to get over in the right lane,” Illia said.

It’s a project about 20 years in the making.

“There was just a lot of different iterations, different designs, that took place, and they were finally able to fund it.” said Jay Proskovec, a spokesman for construction company Kiewit.

Plans include widening the I-15 and U.S. Highway 95 interchange, converting existing express lanes into one general travel and one carpool lane in each direction. Crews will also build an 81-foot-tall flyover ramp for high-occupancy vehicles, and giant digital screens will post speed limits and traffic warnings.

About a year in, the $1 billion project is 42 percent complete, Illia said.

The stretch of Martin Luther King Boulevard open to Fun Walkers on Saturday morning will elevate the street above Charleston Boulevard to relieve congestion.

Curiosity over the department’s progress brought Randall Brown, 68, to the Saturday open house from his home a couple of blocks away. Brown said he worried the house he’s lived in for 27 years would be acquired in the widening of I-15. NDOT bought about 200 parcels of land for the project, including houses, businesses and empty lots.

“Any construction project has its downside. The hardest part of this has been the dust,” said Brown, who won’t have to move, but is getting sick of late-night beeping from the construction vehicles.

He hasn’t decided whether the change will be good for the area.

“I’m trying to find what the next step is, and it could be leaving,” Brown said. “Frankly, I’m waiting to see what the actual noise levels (are).”

But for Praveen Jayakumar, a physician who works in the area, the reconstruction is all positive. The Martin Luther King Boulevard revamp will serve as a major connecting point between the medical and Arts districts.

“We have world-class resorts, a world-class airport, I mean, it’s sad that we don’t have world-class health care,” said Jayakumar, 41, who has lived with his wife in the area for three years. ”You need these hubs of concentrated innovation … for things to really pick up.”

If all goes well, Jayakumar said he hopes new coffee shops and restaurants someday set up shop in the redesigned area. For now, though, Las Vegans can look forward to continued road closures from the project.

Martin Luther King Boulevard between Mineral Avenue and Bonanza Road is shut down until 6 a.m. Monday while crews work on bridge demolition and construction. The U.S. 95 on-ramps and off-ramps and the I-15 on-ramp at Martin Luther King are closed.

Contact Jessie Bekker at jbekker@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @jessiebekks on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
3 Centennial High School students killed in Calif. crash (Full)
Three Centennial High School students were killed Thursday morning in Southern California when their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver while they were enjoying their spring break, according to a family member of one of the victims.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like