Don't get a big headache in the "Big Squeeze;" NDOT says zipper merge will help congestion

LAS VEGAS - Monday night, major changes in the form of lane closures will impact thousands of drivers around the Spaghetti Bowl per day which means your morning and evening cute will turn into a big headache.

Starting at 9 p.m. road crews with the Nevada Department of Transportation will start the long-term U.S. 95 lane closures related to Project Neon.

It's being called the "Big Squeeze."

The project will narrow U.S. 95 to two lanes in both directions from Rancho Drive to the Spaghetti Bowl, having a major impact on traffic for the next 10 months. 

"Just on 95, merging on the 15, I suspect that the traffic will be backed up well past Decatur on 95 South," said Bob Taylor, driver.  "I would not be surprising at all."

The closure makes way for a brand new HOV flyover; one of the biggest phases of Project Neon.

The closure impacts roughly 200,000 drivers a day who commute through Rancho Drive to the Spaghetti Bowl corridor during peak times.  That means some 10,000 commuters will squeeze into two lanes.

NDOT says it will implement a traffic management system called the zipper merge.  Similar to normal merging, Project Neon officials said the zipper merge doesn't waste any available road, and when you get to that merge point, that's where the driver will merge, and act like a zipper taking turns so that the commute can move faster for drivers.

"Sometimes we get anxious and try to cut in last minute, or we get upset by people who cut in. What we're asking the public to do is use both lanes all the way to that merge point and then take turns," said Dale Keller, Project Neon Manager.

Katie Boer, Reporter: "So you're saying don't be mad if people are trying to use that lane because they're supposed to?"
Keller: "They're supposed to use the lane. You take turns, you let each other in, give everybody the five finger wave, and we'll have a great time."

According to Keller, if commuters merge correctly it will reduce congestion by about 40 percent.

However, many drivers say they just might avoid the stretch all together.

"Yeah where I get on it's usually at Valley View, and I take a look over the edge," Taylor said.  "If I see the traffic heavy, I'll take the surface streets.  I won't bother cause I know it's going to be a problem."

Project Neon officials say the first weekend of the project will be a marathon weekend with crews working around the clock.  The "Big Squeeze" portion should take about 300 days, but an even larger phase will occur on the I-15 at the beginning of March 2018.

Be sure to watch Traffic Anchor Demetria Obilor's reports every morning on Good Day starting at 4 a.m. She will be offering alternate routes for drivers to use.

Also, the NDOT is recommending the app called WAZE.

In the meantime, for southbound traffic, Valley View Boulevard, Decatur Boulevard, and Rancho Drive are recommended alternatives.

Northbound traffic can either take Las Vegas Boulevard or Eastern Avenue.


More Stories

Don't Miss

  • Community Calendar
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Connect with 8 News NOW
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Founder's Day of Caring
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Community Pride
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Politics Now
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest News

Video Center