LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — If you’ve ever driven from southern Nevada to southern California or vice-versa, you know the traffic can be brutal. Now, some relief is on the way.
On Sunday, governors for the two states announced a new Interstate 15 expansion project that will open an additional lane during peak travel times.
13 Action News spoke with Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman on Monday. She says she’s excited about the news, but she also acknowledged it’s not a permanent fix. In her words, it’s a Band-Aid for a situation that requires a full-blown tourniquet.
California crews will be repaving and re-striping a five-mile stretch of I-15, temporarily turning the shoulder into a third lane on busy driving days and relieving a brutal bottleneck between Stateline and Barstow.
“People blend it for a three- or four-hour drive. Last Sunday, it was nine-and-a-half or 10 hours to get back, because there’s only two lanes,” Goodman said.
As Las Vegas’ population has steadily grown, so too has Goodman’s concern about congestion coming from California. She says making I-15 faster and more efficient will benefit tourists and truckers alike, but argues the latter is more important right now to fix our nation’s broken supply chain.
“We have the stockpiling in Los Angeles and Long Beach that needs to get moved into the country. Now the attention’s here, because the freight has not moved back east. Economically, it’s a disaster if we don’t get it going,” Goodman said.
And our tourists will spend less time getting home!
— Carolyn G. Goodman (@mayoroflasvegas) December 5, 2021
After eight years of sounding the alarm, she’s glad these governors are finally addressing the issue. But she believes the situation requires a more permanent solution.
“My hope is, with the trillion dollars allocated to infrastructure, the president of the United States is looking to move that freight and those products into the rest of the country,” Mayor Goodman said, crossing her fingers.
The I-15 expansion project is expected to cost about $12 million, which the California Department of Transportation will pay for. It’s expected to begin by mid-spring 2022 and be completed by the end of summer.