LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Sunday the temporary expansion of the highway in a five-mile stretch between the state line and Barstow to ease traffic congestion during peak hours.
The stretch of highway between the Nevada border and the California Department of Food and Agriculture Agricultural Station is federally recognized as an economic lifeline corridor due to its role in the supply chain, and for connecting the economic and tourism hubs of Southern California and Las Vegas, according to the Nevada governor's office.
“This five-mile stretch of highway is a critical piece of infrastructure for not only our two states but for the whole country. However, the hours of traffic deters tourism and goods movement,” Newsom said. “While this is just a temporary solution, the expansion is crucial for continued economic health and resilience in the region and beyond. I thank Governor Sisolak for his continued focus and partnership on this and other shared priorities for Californians and Nevadans.”
Officials say the average travel times on Sundays and Mondays in the southbound direction can range from three to five hours to travel the 113 miles between the state line and Barstow.
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“I appreciate Governor Newsom and California’s willingness to work together on this critical issue. Annually, more than 11 million Las Vegas visitors drive in and out of town on I-15 and this is a major step forward while we continue to collaborate and work toward more permanent solutions," Sisolak said.
For the five-mile segment of roadway between the Nevada border and the CDFA Agricultural Station where the majority of congestion occurs, Caltrans will use the shoulder as a part-time lane during periods of peak congestion – primarily Sundays and Mondays.
This will address a current design constraint of the interstate going from three lanes to two lanes then back to three lanes within the five-mile section, according to the Nevada governor's office.
"We applaud and appreciate the commitment and collaboration by Governor Newsom and Governor Sisolak to address the frequent and significant congestion on I-15. This initiative is an important first step that will begin to improve the experience of the 10 million visitors to Las Vegas who use this corridor. We know this will be exciting news celebrated by all who drive I-15 during peak travel times," said Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO and President Steve Hill.
The project is estimated to cost $12 million and will be completed with existing California State Highway Account resources. It is expected to begin by mid-Spring 2022, with completion anticipated by the end of summer 2022.
A livestream of Sunday's press conference can be seen below: