After a four-year delay, a $62 million interchange project in Las Vegas is at last under way. The Cactus Avenue interchange is being constructed between Silverado Ranch Road and St. Rose Parkway on I-15.
After a four-year delay, a $62 million interchange project in Las Vegas is at last under way. The Cactus Avenue interchange is being constructed between Silverado Ranch Road and St. Rose Parkway on I-15 and will include a six-lane street and overpass above the freeway to link Dean Martin Drive with Las Vegas Boulevard.
The diamond interchange is expected to ease congestion in the southeastern and southwestern areas of Las Vegas Valley, said Damon Hodge, spokesman of the Nevada Department of Transportation. “The southwestern portion of town, along with southeastern portion, has been rapidly growing, Hodge said. They have been among the most rapidly growing sectors of the Las Vegas Valley for a long time.”
Commuters on both the east and west sides of I-15 have been pushing for the additional connectivity to improve the transportation flow and access to the valley, Hodge said.
The most significant impact will be to the Silverado Ranch interchange, said Corey Newcome, project manager of Las Vegas Paving, the lead contractor for the project.
“Silverado Ranch Road gets backed up at morning and evening peaks primarily with residents going home and to work,” Newcome said. “There are times they will be backed up for several light cycles. It’s going to be a huge help to the commuters in that part of the valley, which includes Silverado Ranch east of I-15 and Southern Highlands on the west side of I-15. These are huge master plan communities that were built in early 2000 when things were really booming.”
Groundbreaking on the project took place in April, four years after the project was approved and then later halted when Nevada highway projects were reprioritized.
“The transportation industry is way down in Nevada,” Newcome said. “There are only three $40 million highway jobs in the southern part of the state. In this economy, we’re real glad to have it.”
About 75 craft labor jobs have been created for the interchange construction, but that doesn’t include jobs created by material suppliers, Hodge said. The project required the acquisition of private property to be completed and involves three new drainage systems.
“It’s a big drainage job, so we’re using a lot excavators, loaders, cranes, bulldozers and scrapers,” Newcome said. “We must shift the traffic back and forth so there is a lot of traffic movement. That’s always a safety concern for the construction workers and for the public. We don’t shut down the interstate at all. We take a lane in the middle of the night so we don’t have a significant impact on traffic. At times we are moving traffic around 24/7, and at times we are working around the clock. Once we get the traffic moved we are working the day shift.”
The project was funded through the federal government with about $38.9 million going for the actual construction and the balance for design, engineering, the purchase of right-of-way and administration.
The Louis Berger Group was contracted for the design of the project and construction support. It is slated to be finished in October 2014.
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