Nevada DOT breaks ground on state’s largest public works project, Project Neon

Rendering of portions of Project Neon in Las Vegas.Rendering of portions of Project Neon in Las Vegas.

The Nevada DOT (NDOT) has broken ground on Project Neon, which is the largest public works project in the history of the state. The total investment for the project is close to $1 billion and agency officials say it will create 4,000 “high-paying” local jobs.

“This critical investment ensures that we meet the state’s growing infrastructure needs while generating thousands of well-paying local jobs that will stimulate Nevada’s economy,” says Gov. Brian Sandoval. “Project NEON will greatly improve traffic congestion, motorist safety and commuter delays, thereby improving the quality of life for all Nevadans as well as improving visitor experiences in our state.”

The project involves widening 3.7 miles of Interstate 15 between the “Spaghetti Bowl” interchange in downtown Las Vegas to Sahara Ave. The corridor has 300,000 vehicles travelling through it each day and sees an estimated 25,000 lane changes per hour. NDOT officials expect traffic on this stretch of highway to double by 2035.

The design-build contract, valued at $559.4 million, went to Kiewit Infrastructure West. The lead designer is Atkins North America.

“Construction will finish nearly a year earlier than anticipated for nearly $80 million in time savings for local taxpayers, thanks to the design-build approach,” says NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon. “The project’s accelerated schedule still maintains local street accessibility for residents and businesses during construction.”

Project highlights include:

  • Full diamond interchange at Charleston Blvd. for easier access to downtown, the Medical District, Symphony Park and several “ramp braids” will reduce merge and weave traffic on Interstate 15.
  • An 81-foot-tall, 2,606-foot-long High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) flyover bridge from southbound U.S. 95 to southbound I-15 that also accommodates carpool traffic from northbound I-15 to U.S. 95 northbound.
  • Conversion of the two existing I-15 express lanes into a general purpose and HOV lane, thereby creating 22 consecutive miles of carpool lanes between I-15 and U.S. 95.
  • Extension of Grand Central Parkway over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks as well as connecting to Industrial Road for improved resort corridor access and mobility.
  • Aesthetic and landscape upgrades, dynamic message signs and improved drainage.

“Project NEON, upon completion in summer 2019, will reduce travel delays by 28 percent for a $110 million annual savings through increased productivity,” says Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman. “It will also improve air quality due to less idle time and vehicle exhaust while enhancing motorist safety from reduced merge and weave traffic.”