LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It will be 5-7 years before construction cones mean actual construction for NDot's Downtown Access Project but the agency is asking everyone to consider the potential impact now.
"We are actively seeking feedback from anyone who might be impacted by these closures," said Kristina Swallow, from the Nevada Department of Transportation.
Let's start with the why. NDot's goal is to address an aging viaduct and help make getting in and out of Downtown Las Vegas easier. The agency is considering three options that all include possibly closing parts of eight streets that travel north and south under the I-515. Those streets are 7th, 8th, 10th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 19th, 21st. 15th and 21st would be closed to cars but would remain open for pedestrians. The agency says those streets are not lengthy and closing them does not negatively impact the rest of the system or create lengthy detours.
Those streets will be temporarily closed starting Monday and will run through April 12.
"These Downtown access roads serve a purpose or they wouldn't be here," said Frank Gigliotti, who lives in the area and jogs the streets.
Residents of Downtown are mixed on the proposal. While some say closing down streets would actually make getting to the heart of Downtown Las Vegas less accessible by limiting their possible routes, Will Young said as long as his RTC bus stops aren't impacted, he'll be okay.
"I come out here just to stretch my legs. When I want to go to the casino, if I have to walk two or three blocks out of the way, then come back, I don't mind," said Will Young, who lives north just north of the I-515.
Additionally, 4th Street is proposed to close as part of the project's recessed design option, although it will not be shut down during these temporary closures.
NDOT officials say the street closures draw attention to proposed permanent closures as part of the future Downtown Access Project that will give residents and businesses an opportunity to experience the new street configuration firsthand, provide feedback and voice any concerns.
The Downtown Access Project is evaluating the safety and travel reliability alternatives along Interstate 515 (U.S. Highway 95) between Rancho Drive and Mojave Road, including possibly replacing or removing on and off-ramps located too close together and adding freeway capacity.
From March 8-28, the streets mentioned will be partially closed and from March 29 through April 12, they will be fully closed.
In conjunction with these closures, project signage on each street will encourage users to visit the project online or call the community feedback line at 702-938-5440.
Officials held a press conference Monday on the closures that can be watched below: