LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — So close, yet so far: The billion dollar ‘Project Neon’ freeway project is about a month from completion, but before then drivers will have to deal with 24/7 lane closures as crews repave parts of I-15 north and southbound between Silverado Ranch and Sahara Avenue.
It’s one last traffic headache drivers will have to endure as NDOT puts the finishing touches on Project Neon. On Monday, Pave-a-Palooza kept drivers in bumper-to-bumper traffic between the Beltway and the ‘Spaghetti Bowl.’
The gridlock on I-15 southbound south of Sahara really grinded the gears of drivers who use that stretch of road daily.
“Coming down to the office, it’s doubling the time down the freeway travels,” said Tony, driver.
Patrick Walker, Reporter: “Have you gotten stuck in it yet?
Melvin Johnson, driver: “One time, the first time; I think it was Friday, and then after Friday I was like ‘I’m not dealing with it no more,’ and [I] took all the side streets.”
Taking the side streets is a strategy many are using to try to skirt the gridlock.
“The old shortcuts that used to be faster getting off the highway are even just as congested as staying on the highway,” Tony said. “Everyone’s trying to take the shortcuts now.”
The hold up on the freeway is because workers are using giant milling machines to shave off the top layer of asphalt, filling truck after truck, which is lined up, and ready to load.”
Crews will soon follow with asphalt paving machines, which will put down a new layer on the road deck to match the rest of the Project Neon pavement.
“This is the sort of ‘icing on the cake’ if you will,” NDOT spokesperson Tony Illia said. “On top of the roadway, we’re laying down that crumb rubber asphault, which will make for a much smoother, quieter ride and a safer ride too.”
NDOT says it’s working 24/7 to get the job done as quickly as possible. Working strictly overnight would drag the project out over several weeks, if not months, costing taxpayers more money.
Commuter Melvin Johnson says it’s not ideal, but it makes sense.
“Yeah, it’ll be worth it, because then the freeways will open up a little more, so…”
Patrick Walker, Reporter: “But you have a week to wait until then.”
Melvin Johnson: “A week to wait, and I live on the other side of town, so it takes me a long time to get to work now.”
Drivers can expect to see lane closures for the rest of the week on both sides of the freeway, with additional overnight closures likely through the resort corridor. Then there will be a full closure of northbound I-15 between Sahara and D Street, but that should be the end of it!