Project Neon: Navigating through 'The Big Squeeze'

LAS VEGAS - Major changes in the form of lane closures will impact thousands of drivers a day around the spaghetti bowl next week.

The Nevada Department of Transportation held a news conference Wednesday to announce the long-term U.S. 95 lane closures related to Project Neon.

It's being called the "Big Squeeze."

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

"This is the biggest undertaking the state of Nevada has taken on a public works project and transportation project," said Project Neon manager Dale Keller.

Crews will begin setting up on Monday night, and the restrictions will start Tuesday morning. This is a labor-intensive project. There will be construction six days a week, around the clock.  It will be a real impact to drivers.

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

NDOT is doing everything they can to expedite the process because even though it's dubbed "The Big Squeeze, for many drivers it's just a big headache.

"This is going to be work six days a week; both day and night, and you'll see work happening on Sunday as well," explained Keller. "It's very expensive to work on Sunday and pay overtime, but you'll see work happening close to around the clock."

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.

However, before the rash of construction turns into road rage, there are ways drivers can minimize the stress.

"We're implementing a new traffic management system called the zipper merge," said Keller.

Similar to normal merging, Project Neon officials said the zipper merge doesn't waste any available road.

"Use all the lanes that you can, and when you get to that merge point, that's where you merge, and you act like a zipper," said Keller.  "You act like a zipper where you take turns for you to move faster."

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.


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