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Drivers of I-15 in Las Vegas Have Hit the Jackpot

Nevada’s most expensive infrastructure project comes to successful completion.

Project Neon, the most expensive transportation project in Nevada’s history, is complete. Ribbons were cut on August 8, 2019, to celebrate the official completion of a 3.7-mile stretch of Interstate 15 from Sahara Avenue to the U.S. Highway 95 “Spaghetti Bowl” interchange - the state’s busiest freeway interchange.

With the expectation for traffic in this area to double between now and 2035, Project Neon culminates a 20-year project to improve freeway transportation in downtown Las Vegas. Specific benefits include improved safety, air quality, new surface street connections, improved access into downtown and reduced congestion, delays and weaving.

Jacobs started working on the project in 2008, providing consultant services from the environmental phase through completion of construction.

“The NEPA effort included delivery of a draft EIS just eight weeks after the task was assigned to us,” recalls Jacobs’ project manager John Taylor.

Through close coordination with NDOT, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and cooperating agencies including the City of Las Vegas, the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was delivered on schedule. In May 2010, the Final EIS for the nearly $1.5 billion program was signed.

During preliminary design, Jacobs led the development of 60% design plans for improvements to the freeway and surface streets in the heart of Las Vegas. When NDOT elected to use design-build delivery, Jacobs assisted NDOT in packaging multiple phases of the project into a single design-build procurement. The firm then served as NDOT’s Owner’s Engineer and assisted with developing and issuing the design-build procurement documents and assisted with the extensive right-of-way needed for the project. As part of this task, the team provided support during design and construction to verify the final design met the requirements of the design-build contract.

“For more than 12 years, Jacobs has been working with NDOT to reduce congestion and improve safety on this busiest stretch of highway in Nevada,” adds John. “In the process, we helped NDOT reduce the program size by $750 million through value analysis studies, cost estimate validation process workshops, constructability reviews, Everyday Counts workshops and a team culture of value-added delivery.”

Project improvements include widening nearly four miles of I-15; ramp braiding for improved safety and operations; a new diamond interchange at Charleston Boulevard for improved access and mobility; expanding the HOV network to include 20+ miles of contiguous HOV lanes, a direct connect ramp through the Spaghetti Bowl and a new HOV interchange for improved access into downtown Las Vegas; new surface street connections for improved access from the resort corridor to Symphony Park, the Medical District and downtown; a revamped Martin Luther King Boulevard for improved north-south operations adjacent to I-15; 42 state-of-the-art Active Traffic Management (ATM) signs for improved communications with motorists and more efficient management of traffic for improved operations; and landscape and aesthetics to enhance the area.

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