LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — From F1 to the Super Bowl, millions are expected to hit the I-15 towards Las Vegas to get there.
But, some Clark County officials are concerned those driving from California cannot do it safely and efficiently.
They blame it on the prolonged widening of I-15 from Barstow to the Nevada state line, a project that was anticipated to complete nearly one year ago. The idea was to
In December 2021, former Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and current California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the project, identifying the 113-mile stretch of road as “an economic lifeline corridor due to its role in the supply chain.” They added that 11 million Las Vegas visitors use it to get into town annually.
“It should be done by the summer,” Sisolak said to reporters at the 2021 press conference.
That expectation was never met, and drivers continue to pay the cost with their time.
Ryan Black, for one, says he had a wild ride into Nevada from San Diego Friday.
“In a bottleneck where it goes from two lanes to one, everybody slammed on their brakes. It came to a complete stop. Three cars almost got in an accident,” Black said while stopping for gas in Primm Friday morning. “It makes travel way longer than it needs to be. It’s very uncomfortable.”
On New Year’s Day this year, Las Vegas visitors faced a reported 18-mile backup on their way back to California.
So far, the most noticeable progress made is the conversion of the interstate’s shoulder into a third lane for one mile near the state line.
Governor Newsom initially said the widening would impact five miles south of Nevada.
Until the remaining miles are completed, Clark County officials are publicly expressing frustration.
City of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, a vocal advocate for the completion, most recently tweeted Tuesday about the increasing need for it ahead of the valley’s first Super Bowl.
“With the #SuperBowl on its way to Las Vegas in 2024, we need to ensure that roads leading to the city are in tip-top shape. California must continue work to widen I-15 between Barstow and Stateline to help get all the fans to and from Las Vegas expeditiously,” the February 21 tweet read.
The same day, Clark County Commissioner Jim Gibson brought the topic up during the commissioner meeting, alluding to the valley’s growing population and tourism industry.
“There needs to be done more, in terms of coordination with the state of California,” Gibson said while addressing the board. “We have expertise here. I’m sure California has all the expertise in the world, but there’s a lot that needs to be done to make that highway safe for people traveling to and from Las Vegas, whether we live here or we’re people visiting here.”
In a statement to 8 News Now, Caltrans pointed to the increasing time drivers save on average since converting the interstate shoulder into a one-mile third lane. They add a lack of funding is not a factor in the prolonged completion.
The timing of opening a third lane on southbound Interstate 15 is still being determined as Caltrans works with our federal partners and the Southern California Association of Governments on the necessary regulatory approvals. Caltrans has opened a one-mile transition lane that allows motorists to merge smoothly from three to two lanes along southbound I-15 at the California-Nevada border, which has improved traffic flow and eased congestion entering California. On non-holiday weekends, the transition lane is saving an average of 30-40 minutes on Sundays and Mondays for travelers heading back to Southern California from Las Vegas, with little to no queueing around the border.Caltrans spokesperson
“Fix the freeways. Make them do something about it. Please,” Black said before finishing his drive to Las Vegas Friday.