LAS VEGAS — It was an exciting, challenging and award-winning year in 2012 for the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). NDOT completed milestone projects and embarked on historically significant undertakings, all while maintaining its core focus on running an efficient state transportation system. NDOT widened highways, repaired roads, strengthened bridges, installed the latest in high-tech traffic management infrastructure and continued its commitment to reduce driver and pedestrian fatalities.
Here’s a look at some of the highlights from around Southern Nevada.
I-15 South Design-Build — The $246 million design-build project, from Tropicana Avenue to just south of Silverado Ranch Boulevard, included widening I-15, adding northbound and southbound access roads, redesigning five interchanges, building 26 new bridge sections, retaining walls and sound walls and beautifying the corridor with aesthetic improvements, including free-standing and wall-mounted steel sculptures of Desert Bighorn Sheep, coyotes, wild horses, burros, desert hawks and reptiles as well as revegetation and desert-adapted seeds. The project was a collaboration between NDOT, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Clark County and the Regional Transportation Commission.
Nevada’s First Bridge Slide — As part of the $14 million West Mesquite Interchange Design-Build Project, NDOT conducted Nevada’s first-ever bridge slide. Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez was on hand to witness history, as NDOT and other collaborators and partners used the Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) process to speed the replacement of Interstate 15 bridges in Mesquite. As part of this historic project, new I-15 bridges were constructed on temporary foundations adjacent to the current bridges. Each existing bridge was then demolished, and the new bridges were slid into place using hydraulic jacks, Teflon rails and liquid dish soap. The ABC process shaved six months off construction (12 months instead of 18 months) and saved Mesquite residents and commuters $12.7 million in time and fuel costs.
Project Neon Phase 1 — NDOT is currently in the right-of-way acquisition phase of this multi-phase project, multi-year project. Expected to cost upwards of $1.5 billion and span the next few decades, Project Neon is one of the biggest transportation efforts in state history. Construction on Phase 1, currently estimated between $460 million to $480 million, could begin in 2014 or 2015. Components of Phase 1 include a High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Connector from U.S. 95 to I-15, widening I-15 from the Spaghetti Bowl to south of Sahara, new lane configurations at Oakey and Wyoming, improvements to local access streets downtown, including Alta Drive and reconstructing the I-15/Charleston Boulevard interchange.
Interstate 11 Study — In partnership with the Arizona Department of Transportation, this summer NDOT launched a two-year study of Interstate 11 and the Intermountain West Corridor. The study will determine if it is feasible to build a new interstate that would connect Las Vegas and Phoenix — the two largest metropolitan cities not connected by an interstate — and potentially extend north to Canada and south to Mexico, thus creating a transcontinental corridor. I-11 received federal designation under the current surface transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, also known as MAP-21. As part of this federal designation, U.S. 93 is defined as a high-priority corridor for the future I-11.
I-15 Crumb Rubber Project — This $6 million project along the Las Vegas Strip resort corridor resurfaced the state’s most heavily trafficked section of one of the state’s most important economic routes. Marathon paving was initiated to in order to speed up the project, which including resurfacing the I-15 from the Spaghetti Bowl to Tropicana in both directions and improving various on-ramps and off-ramps throughout the Strip resort corridor. In fitting with NDOT’s continuous efforts to be environmentally conscious, the department used crumb rubber (recycled tires) as a paving material. Crumb rubber allows for a smoother commute with less road noise, better pavement drainage and longer durability.
Summerlin Parkway HOV Bridge — This $26 million bridge connects a newly built HOV-only roadway and bridge to Summerlin Parkway and U.S. 95. The new bridge gives commuters driving on U.S. 95 and on the HOV lanes an opportunity to safely connect to Summerlin Parkway. The bridge prevents cars driving in the HOV lane from having to weave across four lanes of U.S. 95 traffic to connect to Summerlin Parkway, thus helping to improve safety and reduce crashes.
U.S. 95 Widening Phase 1 — This $81 million project included widening U.S. 95 in each direction from Washington Avenue to Ann Road; widening the Gowan Road bridge; building two new bridge structures at the Rancho/Ann Road interchange to braid the northbound exit ramp and the southbound entrance ramp; constructing a loop ramp at the Cheyenne and Durango Drive Interchanges to accommodate heavy westbound traffic to southbound U.S. 95; adding a signal on Rock Springs Drive and installing landscape and aesthetic improvements and sound walls in noise-sensitive areas.
U.S. 93 Widening in Boulder City — This $15.8 million project widened southbound U.S. 93 from Buchanan Intersection to the Hoover Interchange and featured various safety improvements, including a widened Hoover Dam Interchange off-ramp, an intersection at Lakeshore Road, a right turn lane at Colorado, the removal of a free-right turn from Nevada Way to southbound U.S. 93, improved access at the Hacienda Hotel & Casino on both sides of U.S. 93, better lighting and signage in the corridor and the installation of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) devices throughout the corridor.
Intelligent Transportation System Projects — Intelligent Transportation Systems are technologies that create safer and more efficient roadway travel. ITS components include digital freeway message signs, ramp meters and traffic flow detectors and closed-circuit television systems. ITS components were installed on various projects, including I-15 South Design-Build and U.S. 95 Widening Phase 1.
Expanded Outreach to DBEs — A small group of contractors have taken a giant step in a positive direction. They are a part of a NDOT’s pilot program, DBE Empowerment Connections (DEC), whose focus is bringing general contractors and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) together to develop new business relationships for upcoming projects. The new program was one of several new offerings from NDOT’s Civil Rights Office in 2012. The office held a bidding opportunity meeting in August on the F Street Corridor project to inform DBEs of bidding opportunities, unveiled an advanced search featured on its Certified DBE Vendors list that allows users to locate DBE companies and also set an NDOT record with DBEs participating in more than 9 percent of the department’s federally-assisted projects.