For years, the Charleston Boulevard exit from the 215 Beltway in Summerlin was synonymous with near-accidents, bad merging techniques and backups stretching a quarter mile.
Finally, work is underway to fix a log-jammed offramp that has long vexed motorists headed to Downtown Summerlin, Red Rock Resort and the Golden Knights’ practice arena.
With the exit ramp repaved earlier this month, crews are repainting the pavement to accommodate two right-turn lanes onto eastbound Charleston, rather than the previous single lane. The exit’s two left turns will remain, while the center lane will give drivers an option to turn left or continue driving straight back onto the northbound Beltway.
Vehicles exiting the Beltway will still have to merge with traffic traveling north on a frontage road known as Hughes Parkway Drive.
“This will help move the combined traffic from the offramp and Hughes Park Drive East, which merge before reaching Charleston,” said Tom Warden, senior vice president at The Howard Hughes Corp., which developed Summerlin and owns the right-of-way access.
Warden said that motorists can expect intermittent overnight closures as crews continue to work on the ramp through Sunday.
The Charleston exit opened in 2000, when Summerlin was still a budding residential community and drivers primarily headed west to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
That was long before a casino or an NHL practice facility was imagined for the rapidly growing neighborhood. Traffic significantly worsened at the exit about four years ago, when the Downtown Summerlin mall opened.
The Howard Hughes Corp. submitted permits last year to the city of Las Vegas and the Nevada Department of Transportation, asking to reconfigure the ramp’s traffic lanes.