Long-Awaited Las Vegas Project Now in Full Swing

Thu April 17, 2014 - West Edition
Mary Reed

The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) is currently overseeing the long-awaited reopening of F Street in Las Vegas.
The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) is currently overseeing the long-awaited reopening of F Street in Las Vegas.
The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) is currently overseeing the long-awaited reopening of F Street in Las Vegas. The F Street Connection is funded by two sources: the city of Las Vegas ($8 million) and NDOT ($6.5 million). Work began in May 2013 with completion expected by the end of 2014. The F Street Connection project will reopen F Street in its former location under Interstate 15, thus re-establishing direct access between downtown Las Vegas and the West Las Vegas community. F Street was closed during NDOT’s work on the I-15 North Design-Build project, which widened the freeway from Lake Mead to Craig Road. Now with almost 1,200 employees, to date it has placed about 30 million tons (27 million t) — the equivalent of some 40,000 mi. (64,374 km) — 
of asphalt.


The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) is currently overseeing the long-awaited reopening of F Street in Las Vegas.

Now in full swing, the F Street Connection project has its roots in 2006. That year the Las Vegas City Council voted to close the street, city officials expressing concern about cement truck traffic using it.

F Street was closed during NDOT’s work on the I-15 North Design-Build project, which widened the freeway from Lake Mead to Craig Road. A coalition of concerned residents worked through legal and political channels to reopen the underpass, and in 2009, state lawmakers passed legislation mandating its reopening.

Starting in 2010, NDOT, the city of Las Vegas, Las Vegas Paving Corporation, consultants, and a coalition of citizens began a series of meetings — nearly two dozen times over three years — to discuss timelines, design, aesthetics, and construction schedules and other project-related issues.

Since the groundbreaking in May 2013, meetings and briefings have continued throughout the project’s duration to keep stakeholders informed. The project is slated for completion in late fall 2014.

The F Street Connection project will reopen F Street in its former location under Interstate 15, thus reestablishing direct access between downtown Las Vegas and the West Las Vegas community. In addition to accommodating pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular traffic, the new underpass will include a resurfacing of F Street, new sidewalks, curbs and gutter installations, decorative lighting and attractive landscaping north to Washington Avenue, along with a series of community-approved corridor panels celebrating the rich legacy of the historic West Las Vegas community.

"A lot of hard work has been put in from all sides with regard to this project," Damon Hodge, NDOT public information officer, said. "The end result will be a testament to the power of working through issues and working together."

The F Street Connection is funded by two sources: the city of Las Vegas ($8 million) and NDOT ($6.5 million). Work began in May 2013 with completion expected by the end of 2014.

Las Vegas Paving Corporation (LVP) is general contractor for the job. The company began operations in 1958 and is currently ranked 62nd top fleet owner in America. Now with almost 1,200 employees, to date it has placed about 30 million tons (27 million t) — the equivalent of some 40,000 mi. (64,374 km) — of asphalt. Chris Garamendi, LVP project superintendent, detailed the equipment fielded for the job, which included:

Kawasaki 70 Z loader: used for moving and haul off of demolition material including concrete, asphalt, roadway excavation, structure excavation, CIDH spoils, etc.

• Kawasaki 95 Z loader: handled excavation of bridge structure soffit material and roadway excavation. The loader was also used for placing/removing temporary portable precast barrier rail.

• Link-Belt 3400 excavator: utilized for bridge structure excavation/haul off including pile caps and bridge soffit and removing existing storm drain RCP and excavation for new storm drain runs. With a Ho-Ram attachment the excavator also was used for demolition of retaining walls and barrier rail.

• Link-Belt 60 ton (54 t) crane: hoisted all bridge structure reinforcing steel and formwork.

Caterpillar 277C skid steer: utilized for grading approach slabs and aggregate base for asphalt paving.

New Holland 575E backhoe: excavated trenches in areas with limited access and with a Ho-Ram attachment demolished existing high mast light foundations and barrier rail. Subcontractor C&S Construction used the same model of backhoe for excavating all the electrical conduit trenches.

Genie 12,000 lb. (5,443 kg) forklift: employed for unloading and transporting all formwork, reinforcing steel, and installing MSE precast panels.

• Caterpillar 14 blade: used for placing/grading aggregate base for asphalt paving on the F-Street grade, and also at the approach slab tie ins.

In addition, drilling subcontractor Hayward Baker utilized a SoilMec R-622 HD to drill 3 in. (7 cm) diameter by 50 in. (127 cm) deep CIDH shafts for bridge structure foundation and a Link-Belt 100 ton (91 t) crane to hoist and install reinforcing steel cages for drilled shafts.

The F Street Connection is not the only notable project the Nevada Department of Transportation has on tap. For example, there is Project NEON, which the Department’s Hodge described as the largest project in the Department’s history, topping more than $1 billion. The project name is a nod to Las Vegas’ history with lights, primarily those on hotel-casino marquees.

"It’s NDOT’s first public-private partnership. It will dramatically improve accessibility, mobility, and safety from the Spaghetti Bowl to Sahara Avenue, a 3.7-mile stretch of highway that is arguably one of the most important in the state. Approximately 250,000 cars move through it a day; it is a vital hub for the movement of people and goods and is the most heavily trafficked corridor in Nevada," he said.

In connection with Project NEON, NDOT is currently in the process of reviewing the short list of private-industry concessionaires; ultimately one firm will be selected for the job. The project’s private partner’s cost to deliver Phases 1, 3, and 4 is about $610 million. The city of Las Vegas will contribute $20 million for a portion of Phase 2 (the Martin Luther King bridge over Charleston Boulevard). The state legislature’s Interim Finance Committee (IFC) recently approved $100 million in bond proceeds to fund acquisition of right-of-way needed to construct the project, which will be built under a Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain (DBFOM) structure, with NDOT providing availability payments to the concessionaire for 35 years. Construction is expected to start some time in 2015 and to finish in 2018 or 2019 at the latest.

"There is also Phase 1 of the Boulder City Bypass, a 2.7-mile NDOT project that will link to 12-mile Phase 2 which will be constructed by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTCSN). Phases 1 and 2 are important because they are segments of the future I-11 connecting Las Vegas and Phoenix, which has already been designated by Congress," Hodge said.

The proposed interstate would link Las Vegas and Phoenix, currently the two largest metropolitan cities in America without an interstate connection. NDOT is at the halfway point of a two-year study with the Arizona Department of Transportation exploring possible routes that the proposed interstate could follow. The study will be completed this summer.