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Las Vegas’ Car-nado set to unleash traffic hell upon Spaghetti Bowl

The traffic closures known as Car-nado were to begin at 10 p.m. Wednesday, hitting Nevada’s busiest freeway intersection with a maelstrom of construction activity, followed by detours and clogged roads in downtown Las Vegas.

Interstate 15 southbound and northbound ramps connecting to northbound U.S. Highway 95 will be closed every day until late February, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Additionally, the I-15 ramps to Martin Luther King Boulevard will be closed during the same time frame as part of the $1 billion widening of the Spaghetti Bowl interchange known as Project Neon. About 300,000 vehicles travel daily on the Spaghetti Bowl’s looping ramps connecting I-15 and U.S. 95, with traffic expected to double by 2035.

Officials with NDOT and the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada will monitor 70 signals on eight major roadways that are most likely to be impacted by the closures: Lake Mead Boulevard, Martin Luther King Boulevard, Main Street, Bonanza Road, Charleston Boulevard, Sahara Avenue and Alta Drive/ Bonneville Avenue.

Thirty-five cameras mounted on traffic signals will be focused on those streets, with live footage beamed to the RTC’s traffic management center. From there, RTC and NDOT workers will make real-time adjustments to signals, depending on the ebb and flow of traffic.

The lengthy closures are needed so that crews can demolish a 22-year-old, two-lane bridge over Martin Luther King Boulevard that connects northbound I-15 to northbound U.S. Highway 95. The bridge will be rebuilt just north of its current location, making room for a flyover ramp that will be designated for high-occupancy vehicles.

Two more major, yet-to-be-named closures are planned for 2017 and 2018, with work expected to wrap up in 2019.

Drivers were advised last week to come up with their own alternate routes for Car-nado, but NDOT has also designated several detours:

■ I-15 south to U.S. 95 north: Vehicles will exit at westbound Lake Mead Boulevard, then head south on Martin Luther King Boulevard to connect with northbound U.S. Highway 95.

■ I-15 north to U.S. 95 north: Drivers will be detoured to the Martin Luther King Boulevard exit ramp, then directed onto a temporary, one-lane ramp leading to northbound U.S. Highway 95.

■ U.S. 95 north to Martin Luther King Boulevard: Drivers will be directed to Rancho Drive, then turn around and head back south on U.S. Highway 95 to access Martin Luther King Boulevard.

■ I-15 north to Martin Luther King Boulevard: Traffic will be directed to westbound Charleston Boulevard, then north on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

■ I-15 south to Martin Luther King Boulevard: Traffic will be directed to westbound Lake Mead Boulevard to access Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Contact Art Marroquin at amarroquin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Find @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.

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