The final portion of Project Neon, dubbed the Main Event, kicked off this week, bringing with it major traffic headaches for some.
The Main Event work kicked off Monday morning, which reduced Interstate 15 to three lanes in each direction from Sahara Avenue to Washington Boulevard, narrowing to two lanes each way near the Spaghetti Bowl. The restrictions will last 250 days, the Nevada Department of Transportation said.
Motorists are still acclimating to the new freeway configuration, and drivers adjusting their daily commutes during the next few days should help with some of the gridlock, NDOT said.
A new freeway slip-ramp opened Tuesday morning at Martin Luther King Boulevard and Pinto Lane, which should also provide some relief to motorists in the area. The new ramp provides permanent southbound I-15 access.
North and southbound I-15 off-ramps to Charleston Boulevard also opened Tuesday morning, providing another measure to lessen traffic backup.
“FAST (Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation) reports that 30 percent more motorists are using the U.S. Highway 95 southbound to Interstate 15 southbound detour today than yesterday,” said Tony Illia, NODT spokesperson.
Additionally, on Thursday, southbound I-15 will be reduced to two lanes between D Street and Alta Drive beginning at 6 a.m., until Nov. 20.
NDOT warned drivers for months that the final phase would have the greatest impact on traffic.
The delays escalated this week as new closures emerged. FAST tracked the traffic each of the first three days of the Main Event.
• I-15 northbound had minimal delays during both the a.m. and p.m. rush hours; nothing out of the ordinary. I-15 southbound did not have any major delays in the morning or afternoon.
• I-15 northbound had up to 15-minute delays between 6:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., and up to 30-minute delays between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
• I-15 southbound had 25 to 30-minute delays between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m., and 15 to 20-minute delays between 2 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
• I-15 northbound had 15 to 20-minute delays during the a.m. rush hour. There were also delays in the overnight hours because of construction work.
• I-15 southbound had 15 to 20-minute delays beginning at 4 a.m.
NDOT urges drivers have patience and plan for additional travel time.
Signage is being evaluated as needed with FAST on existing digital messaging signs.
Four of the new Active Traffic Management (ATM) signs should be lit up on each side of U.S. 95 Friday from Rancho Drive to the Spaghetti Bowl, alleviating some of the driver confusion in the area. Two more signs will go live by the end of the month.
NDOT suggests that motorists take advantage of the Project Neon website (NDOTProjectNeon.com) or Facebook and Twitter pages (@NDOTProjectNeon), featuring up-to-date information.