One of the final unfinished pieces of the nearly $1 billion Project Neon freeway improvement project is nearing activation, albeit later than transportation officials planned.
Final testing begins this week of the 42 active traffic management signs installed along Interstate 15 between Russell Road and Washington Avenue and U.S. Highway 95 between Valley View Boulevard and the Spaghetti Bowl interchange, the Nevada Department of Transportation announced.
The signs were originally slated to go live this month but sign activation has taken longer than expected, “partly due to some unexpected bad fiber network patches,” according to Tony Illia, transportation department spokesman.
“Also, this is a sophisticated and complex new technology, necessitating a period of familiarization and education,” Illia said. “We are working to ensure proper communication between signs as well as a comprehensive integration with both the Freeway and Arterial System Transportation (FAST) facility and Southern Nevada Traffic Command Center.”
The signs have mainly flashed high occupancy vehicle lane information over the last couple of months — since the substantial completion of Project Neon, the 4-mile widening of I-15 between the Spaghetti Bowl and Sahara Avenue — but will now display intermittent test patterns over the next 60 days.
If the final two-month testing process runs glitch-free, the LED signs will become active in the early part of 2020.
The signs will remain in constant operation once they’re activated, so, NDOT wants to ensure they operate correctly and effectively.
The full-color LED signs will provide next-generation, real-time driver information about detours, crashes, speed limit changes, and lane restrictions, improving safety and traffic flow by reducing differential travel speeds and secondary crashes for enhanced efficiency.
In addition to the LED signs, freeway ramp meters aimed at improving traffic flow on freeways were activated at four locations this week.
“Ramp meters decrease traffic congestion and improve driver safety by regulating the rate of automobiles entering mainline freeway traffic,” Illia said.
The meters are located at:
— Martin Luther King Boulevard onramp to U.S. 95 northbound.
— Pinto Lane onramp to I-15 southbound.
— Charleston Boulevard onramps to north and I-15 southbound .
— Sahara Avenue onramp to I-15 northbound.