LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Las Vegas residents are all too aware of Project Neon and the major improvements (and some major headaches) its brought to the valley’s highway system.
Still, Project Neon, the nearly $1 billion 4-mile-long widening of Interstate 15 from the U.S. 95 interchange to Sahara Avenue that began in 2016, isn’t the end for the Nevada Department of Transportation when it comes to improving the valley’s roads.
Now, NDOT is turning its sights to a portion of U.S. 95 in downtown in a feat appropriately named the Downtown Access Project.
While it won't break ground until at least 2021, the project plans to reconstruct the 1.5-mile elevated section of U.S. 95 between Martin Luther King Boulevard and Las Vegas Boulevard.
According to Tony Illia with NDOT, this elevated roadway is in bad condition, having been built in 1968, with roughly 40 percent of its surface and 70 percent of its structure being rated as poor.
Costs for repairs and rehabilitation are growing along with the number of significant cracks in the roadway’s surface.
Specifically, NDOT wants to demolish and replace the bridge between 4th street and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, which are just west of Main Street, as well as improve safety.
This stretch of roadway has seen an annual increase of nearly 200 crashes, 272 in 2015 to 460 in 2017.
Also, the project will see the addition of three through lanes on U.S. 95, a new City Parkway High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) exit and improved access to downtown.
The plans for the Downtown Access Project are still in their preliminary phases.
Illia says that NDOT is trying to be granted exemption from having to do a federal environmental impact statement, which would enable a 2021 groundbreaking.