LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) — Visitors to Las Vegas returning to California on Interstate 15 after Thanksgiving could benefit from the start of work being done to improve traffic flow on the California-Nevada state line.
On the Nevada side of the freeway there are three lanes, but historically on the California side it has narrowed to two lanes. The bottleneck usually causes congestion, especially after weekends of high-volume visits.
But Caltrans told FOX5 on Monday that they have now completed work on a so-called “one-mile transition lane,” on the southbound California side of the state line. The project was first announced by the Governor of the Golden State last December.
“Repave, re-stripe and use this shoulder as a third lane during rush hour,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-California.
Nearly a year later, the completion of the one-mile widening is Caltrans’ first phase of this project.
“All construction zone signs are being removed this week,” said Carolina Rojas, public information officer, Department of Transportation, State of California.
Now the first mile shoulder on the California side of the state line can be used as a part-time lane.
Rojas said the expanded section will be used during peak congestion, primarily Sundays and Mondays, from Nevada to California.
Las Vegas executives and tourism stakeholders have previously told FOX5 they are glad something is being done after so many years of inaction.
“I’m so thrilled that the governors have finally come together to take a look and start addressing something,” said Carolyn Goodman, Mayor of the City of Las Vegas.
“This gives us the opportunity to start a real conversation with California,” said Steve Hill, president and CEO, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “Having a pilot program, having something that’s a trial, allows us to engage with each other and say, ‘Does this work? Could other things work?
Yet so far only a one-mile stretch has been widened, south of the state line. Newsom promised the freeway would be widened five miles.
Caltrans told FOX5 on Monday that “the project will rehabilitate five miles of roadway.” Rojas added that they don’t have any additional details to share regarding the remaining efforts of this project.
Last year, Newsom answered questions about a permanent third way.
“Whether the longer-term strategy is to make a third way permanent or provide more relief, we need to work with our partners, including CHP,” Newsom said.
Rojas said clarity on the timeline for the next phase of the project is “expected in the coming months.”
According to state officials, more than 11,000,000 visitors enter and leave Las Vegas each year on I-15. That’s enough people to fill Allegiant Stadium over 169 times.
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