NDOT considers funding for projects near Raiders stadium site

The Nevada Department of Transportation is still examining how to pay for a series of freeway improvements across the Las Vegas Valley, including a pair of projects meant to relieve traffic if a stadium for the NFL’s Raiders is built on Russell Road, just west of Interstate 15.

The agency is looking at potentially selling bonds to pay for roughly $200 million to improve access along I-15, NDOT director Rudy Malfabon said Thursday.

It could take about two years to complete environmental studies for a reconfiguration of the Tropicana Avenue interchange at I-15, Malfabon told the board of directors for the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. A separate project calls for building direct-access ramps that would connect a new carpool lane on I-15 to Harmon and Hacienda avenues.

Once environmental clearances are granted, crews could start work by 2020, coinciding with the Raiders’ targeted move-in date to the new stadium. There are no immediate plans to accelerate those projects.

Malfabon said he is waiting for the state Legislature to approve NDOT’s two-year spending budget, adding that there may be some money set aside for the direct-access ramps for Harmon and Hacienda avenues, estimated at $28 million to $34 million.

The stadium’s developer is expected later this month to hold a briefing for several state and local agencies, Malfabon said. Although a site has not been announced, developers appear to prefer a vacant, 62-acre lot between Russell Road and Hacienda Avenue.

Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, an RTC board member, repeated her suggestion that the Raiders should pay for some of the freeway improvements.

A transportation report released in October recommended that NDOT should handle heavy stadium traffic by fast-tracking at least $899 million in freeway projects that were previously planned, including direct-access carpool ramps and a rebuilt Tropicana interchange.

At the time, Malfabon said some freeway projects planned for Clark County might be delayed in order to accelerate proposed improvements surrounding the stadium.

Henderson Councilwoman Debra March, also an RTC board member, said she wanted to make sure funds set aside for local freeway projects are not shifted to pay for improvements near the stadium.

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

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