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
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like