LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A major milestone of Project Neon went into effect Monday morning. Brand new High Occupancy Vehicle lanes have replaced the express lanes on the I-15.
“I carpool constantly,” said Mickey Norton who lives in Las Vegas.
The lengthy lanes are meant to make a difference for drivers. The new HOV lanes are on the I-15, between Silverado Ranch Boulevard and the Spaghetti Bowl. The main goal is to reduce traffic.
“It does alleviate, because that HOV lane does move faster and it gives people an incentive to carpool together,” Norton said.
To use an HOV lane, there must be at least the driver and one other person in the vehicle. There are also a few other requirements.
“If it’s more than two axels, then it’s not allowed in the HOV lane,” said Tony Illia, spokesperson, Nevada Department of Transportation.
Motorcycles, RTC buses and emergency vehicles are allowed in HOV lanes.
Clark county is expecting around 700,000 more residents in the next decade. NDOT says adding more lanes, which they’ve done in the past, won’t cut it.
“Every time we add a lane, they just get instantly filled up,” Illia said.
Enforcement for all HOV lanes, including the pre-existing ones on US 95, is now a 24/7 operation. There will a 30-day grace period but after that, violators will get a $250 ticket.
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“Las Vegas is uniquely a 24/7 town, and that’s what our traffic studies have shown,” Illia said. “While we see the peak travel hours during the morning and afternoon, in Vegas, traffic is kind of constant.”
Some drivers are torn about the new rules.
“For me, it’s absolutely a positive thing, but for 24/7, I don’t know that it’s necessary. But we’ll see. It’s a growing city,” said Jeng Boyles, lives in Las Vegas.
But many do see the benefits.
“It’s all about living green and carpooling and getting to where you need to — together,” Norton said.
NDOT says a new flyover bridge connecting the US 95 and I-15 HOV lanes will now create a continuous flow of traffic.