The traffic headache around the Spaghetti Bowl continues for drivers and is creating issues for Nevada Highway Patrol.
The congestion slowing troopers down — at times — when they’re responding to emergencies.
Just like any driver, Nevada Highway Patrol troopers must deal with the traffic. While it’s frustrating to slowly inch along the freeway, gridlock slows down troopers from doing their job.
“Congestion is up, travel times are up,” said NHP Trooper Travis Smaka.
It’s the new normal around the Spaghetti Bowl.
“The speed we’re traveling right now just became zero,” said Smaka as he navigated with 8 News NOW through the Spaghetti Bowl.
“That’s where we live, so there’s no avoiding the freeway for us,” he said.
Trooper Smaka admits the $1 billion construction project is challenging for NHP.
“Project Neon has really had an effect on us too, just in our job,” Trooper Smaka said. “We have to really stay on top of which ramps are being closed by Project Neon right now so we can avoid those ramps but find other ramps to get turned around, so we can still get to these emergencies as soon as possible.”
He said, ramp closures, lane restrictions and a reduction in shoulders is making it tough for troopers and drivers.
“If we are using our emergency vehicles, with emergency lights and the people have really no where to go, you’re stuck in gridlock right there with them.”
The traffic only builds when drivers don’t move cars from travel lanes following a crash. State law says a driver involved in a crash, resulting only in damage to a vehicle or other property, needs to safely move their car to another place quickly to avoid obstructing traffic.
“So, you don’t have anyone running into the back of you and we keep that travel flowing and avoid residual or secondary crashes down the line.”
To help troopers respond as quickly as possible when seconds may mean the difference between a life and death situation.
Highway patrol doesn’t have any data yet regarding crashes around the Spaghetti Bowl since the final phase of Project Neon kicked off earlier this week.