The director of the Nevada Department of Transportation on Friday said the agency will start studying which projects within Clark County should be delayed in order to accelerate freeway improvements surrounding two potential sites for a domed stadium.
The move comes after a transportation report released on Thursday recommended that NDOT would need to fast-track at least $899 million in freeway improvements that were previously planned in Las Vegas in order to accommodate a new 65,000-seat stadium by 2019.
Shuffling projects within Clark County “would be the fair thing to do,” NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon said. “We have a responsibility to preserve the transportation system across the state.”
State lawmakers on Friday approved $750 million in public financing to help build the $1.9 billion stadium — the proposed home of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and UNLV football team. The family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson has pledged $650 million to the proposed stadium project, while the Raiders have committed $500 million.
A 62-acre area northwest of Russell Road and Interstate 15 and the 140-acre Bali Hai Golf Club, between Interstate 15 and Las Vegas Boulevard, just south of Russell, are the two leading locations under consideration by the stadium’s developers.
A traffic-impact study by CH2M also listed four projects that could help move traffic to and from the stadium, but aren’t scheduled for construction until sometime between 2020 and 2035.
The proposed projects are:
■ Adding one lane of traffic in each direction of Interstate 15 and adding carpool lanes between Tropicana Avenue and Blue Diamond Road for $274 million.
■ Building five direct-access ramps from the carpool lane to five exits along I-15, including Harmon and Hacienda avenues, for $400 million.
■ Rebuilding the Tropicana Avenue interchange at I-15 for $150 million.
■ Building carpool-lane ramps directly connecting I-15 and the 215 Beltway for $75 million.
The new traffic lanes on I-15 between Tropicana and Blue Diamond got environmental clearance in 2008, Malfabon said. A feasibility study for the Tropicana interchange was released last year. The carpool lane projects were part of a larger report also released last year.
“We have been studying these things since 2008, in advance of the stadium discussions and any of the sites identified by the developers,” Malfabon said, adding that the projects were developed to help meet Southern Nevada’s traffic needs for the next 20 years.
Moving forward, Malfabon said he would like to advance the carpool ramps for Hacienda and Harmon, followed by the Tropicana freeway interchange. Environmental reviews for both projects could take about two years to complete.
To make that happen, NDOT officials must now decide which near-term projects should be delayed, with a focus on those scheduled between 2019 and 2021, Malfabon said. The agency also would have to rely on federal and state resources and fuel indexing tax revenues.
NDOT is the lead agency for 45 projects totaling more than $1.5 billion that are planned for the next four years in Clark County, according to the agency’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Program.
Those recommendations, along with the stadium’s traffic-impact report, are expected to be discussed during the next NDOT board meeting scheduled for Nov. 14.
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Contact Art Marroquin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0336. Follow @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.