LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Nevada Department of Transportation celebrated the end of Project Neon last week, but that doesn’t mean the orange cones, which some people jokingly call Nevada’s other state symbol, are going away.
There’s still a number of lane closures and final touches to finish before they can say the project is 100 percent complete. This means the morning and afternoon gridlock, especially through the Spaghetti Bowl, will continue to annoy drivers a little while longer.
However, usage of the HOV lanes has eased some of the traffic woes. Ever since they debuted a few months ago, HOV lanes have been a hot button issue among drivers.
But whether you love them or hate them — they’re here to stay. But are drivers following the rules of the HOV road?
“I drive the 15 every single day to work, [I] see a lot of people still, just one person in the car using the carpool lane,” said Kelly Bieterman, commuter.
8 News NOW Reporter Patrick Walker and Photojournalist Henry Takai set up a camera on the Harmon overpass above I-15 at 11:40 a.m. to see who was abiding by the two or more per vehicle HOV rule.
In a five minute span, they counted 64 vehicles in the carpool lane. That’s roughly 10 percent of the total number of vehicles that passed I-15 above the Harmon overpass HOV point. Ten vehicles didn’t have a front passenger or any other apparent occupants.
A Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman says in the first month 518 tickets went out for various HOV violations. The most common was people crossing the double white line.
“Oh yeah, they still cross the double white lines; yeah, they kind of just ignore that it’s a carpool lane altogether,” Bieterman said as she laughed.
During 8 News Now’s survey of a 100-yard section of the freeway, the crossing of the white line was a frequent violation.
But a lot of drivers play by the rules.
Patrick Walker, Reporter: “You’ve used the carpool lanes?
Jenny Cordeiro, commuter: “Yes, twice this weekend, I went from Centennial Hills to the Strip.
Patrick Walker: “So you’re glad that they’re there?”
Jenny Cordeiro: “I am. I got to pass all that construction or the traffic.”
A semi-truck was also caught in the carpool lane, but that is against the rules as well. Vehicles with more than two axles are not allowed to drive in the HOV lanes.
Law enforcement enforces the rules of the HOV lanes 24/7. Violators face a $250 fine.
Motorcycles riders can use the HOV lanes, but electric vehicles can’t; not unless they have at least one passenger.