Its really over! The construction on the Spaghetti Bowl is really, really over. After 3 years and seemingly interminable orange barrels and traffic delays in the hot Vegas sun, construction on the most expensive public works project in Nevada is finally finished. Minor punch list items such as the digital sign system and lane striping may continue for a short time, but on August 8, 2019, officially this project will have the ribbon cut and we’ll move on to another road construction project somewhere else in the valley.
The project came in at a final price of nearly $700 million, which is less than budgeted, and is opening, although none too soon for the 300,000 vehicles who pass through this stretch of road daily, a couple of months early.
Ramp Braiding – The interface between the main highways and the surface streets employ a new system called ramp braiding. Ramp braiding uses a series of frontage roads and ramps to move traffic quickly off the main highway to the frontage road leaving the main highway free for through traffic. It is expected that traffic will move through the newly completed roadway at an average 58 mph, reducing traffic delays by 28 percent. However, some interchanges have been consolidated and your exit from the main road may be past you by the time you realize it. Keep your eyes open for signs to direct you.
Active Traffic Management System (ATM) – This system consists of two types of digital signs which are suspended above all lanes of the I-15. Type 1 signs are 12’ tall and display written messages about travel times to upcoming exits and lane closures. Type 2 signs are 6’ tall and show green arrows for open lanes and red X’s for closed lanes.
Two New Freeway Entrances – Pinto Lane on the west side of I-15 is a new entrance to the freeway as is Neon Gateway which is located just south of Charleston on the east side of I-15 and allows Western Avenue traffic to access NB and SB general and HOV lanes.
Miscellaneous New Stuff – New Art Panels line the sides of underpasses and exposed walls are accented by Sculptural Appliques. Surface level sculptures consist of Freestanding Art Walls, and Ground Plane Treatments. Native trees, shrubs, and rocks will be used to accent the sculptures.
The road surface itself is asphalt which has been mixed with 60,000 recycled tires. That’s why it sounds so much quieter to drive on, but will also decrease maintenance costs because it lasts twice as long and doesn’t buckle as much due to expansion of the roadway.
New sound walls line the roadway and include tasteful artwork which makes the drive that much more pleasant.
And of course, there’s 20 miles of HOV lanes which include an 81’ elevated flyover at the Spaghetti Bowl. Keep in mind, that HOV lanes are active 24/7 now, and it is being enforced by NHP, although it remains to be seen how the dispute between City of Las Vegas and NVDOT will resolve.
The objectives of the project were to increase throughput of traffic, reduce emissions due to fewer vehicles slowing or standing for delays, increased and more efficient on and off ramps, and an overall modernization of the old Spaghetti Bowl to Sahara interchanges.
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