Labor Day, another holiday Nevada-California state line I-15 traffic scheduled for relief

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Chances are that by the time you read this, a line of vehicles up to 20 miles long is backed up on Interstate 15 starting somewhere near the California-Nevada state line near Jean or even further south.

This event, of course, has been a mainstay on I-15 after Las Vegas holiday weekends for as long as I remember.

The problem is largely related to the narrowing of southbound I-15 from three lanes of traffic to two near the Nevada-California border.

More than 40 million people visit Las Vegas each year, with approximately 25% traveling between Southern California and Nevada. The volume of motorists can significantly extend travel times on I-15 southbound on Sundays and Mondays, causing the 4.5-hour trip between Las Vegas and Los Angeles to take up to 10 hours during the busiest holidays.

Help to relieve some of the pain is already underway.

A $12 million project is underway to resurface and repave the shoulder, allowing traffic to use it as a third lane during high traffic times like Labor Day.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and California Governor Gavin Newsome announced the project last December at a joint press conference near the two-state border.

The project to improve the Nevada and California sides of I-15 southbound began Aug. 22 and is expected to be completed later this fall, according to Nevada Department of Transportation spokeswoman Rosa Mendez.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has advocated widening the freeway between southern Nevada and Los Angeles. She called the current project a “band-aid” and wants to see more.

“I guess 5 miles of 113 is better than nothing,” she said in a text message. “For a tourism-dependent community, much of which is from California, it is unfathomable that this bandage is enough for a tourniquet. Easy, safe.

To further ease traffic flow, NDOT is also installing a ramp meter and directional signage at the Primm Boulevard on-ramp to southbound I-15. The project, which includes the addition of flashing beacons and intelligent transportation system equipment, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Motorists should expect delays in the area during construction.

“We know this is a critical travel corridor between California and Nevada, and we are actively taking steps to minimize traffic impacts,” Mendez said.

“As the project progresses, the public can expect temporary lane closures on southbound I-15 as well as full ramp closures in Primm. Ramp closures will be limited to one lane at all times and will occur during night hours, unless the scope of work requires daylight hours. Project work will be conducted Monday through Friday during overnight hours with a southbound lane open at all times on I-15.

This was evident Friday morning when the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission issued a traffic alert for the area as Labor Day weekend travel began. The RTC warned that delays were expected due to roadwork on I-15 past Primm Boulevard, but that work was completed by mid-morning.

Earlier in the week, traffic was halted on southbound I-15 as crews carried out emergency repairs to a bridge south of Nipton Road in Mountain Pass that was damaged due to flooding during storms last week.

The good news is that road crews will not be working over the bank holiday weekend.

“There will be no construction over Labor Day weekend,” Mendez said. “Crews will return to work on the evening of Tuesday, September 6.”

So if all goes to plan and the extra lane open during heavy traffic times plays a role, maybe next year there won’t be as much labor involved during the driving between Nevada and Southern California over Labor Day weekend.

Contact Mick Akers at [email protected] or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter. Send your questions and comments to [email protected]

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