Las Vegas -- which includes the incorporated cities of Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas, and North Las Vegas plus the unincorporated communities of Enterprise, Paradise, South Summerlin, Spring Valley, Sunrise Manor, Whitney (East Las Vegas), and Winchester -- is nestled in a basin in the Mojave Desert near Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. Travelers coming into the Las Vegas basin from any direction at night can see the glow of the lights.
Known as "Sin City," Las Vegas is famous throughout the world for gambling, vacationing, and partying. Las Vegas is the first incorporated city encountered by Interstate 15 since leaving the Barstow, California. Las Vegas, a Spanish word that translates to "the meadows" in English, was established in 1905 and incorporated as a city in 1911. When gambling was legalized in Las Vegas in March 1931, the city began its inexorable growth. Today the Las Vegas region is a premier resort attraction.
In 2000, the official Census population of Clark County was 1,375,765. Of this amount, the city of Las Vegas accounted for 478,434 people. The remaining population lives in burgeoning Henderson or in the heavily populated unincorporated areas of Clark County, including the popular Las Vegas Strip. Most of the major, well-known resorts are actually on the Las Vegas Strip, which lies along Las Vegas Boulevard between Russell Road and Sahara Avenue in the unincorporated towns of Paradise and Winchester.
With the comfortable desert climate, many have relocated to Las Vegas, making it one of the top relocation destinations anywhere in the United States through the 1990s and 2000s, only abating with the Great Recession of 2008-2009. As the population continues to expand, new homes are being constructed at a rate unseen outside of Las Vegas and the Phoenix metropolitan area in neighboring Arizona. As a result, more roads and highways are being constructed in Las Vegas, and U.S. 93 is being considered for future upgrading as Interstate 11.
Interstate 15 is among the busiest routes in the Las Vegas valley, carrying traffic into Las Vegas from Los Angeles in the south and Salt Lake City and the Intermountain West from the north. In addition, it carries travelers from Idaho via U.S. 93 into the metropolitan area.
Interstate 215 is the Las Vegas Beltway, beginning at Interstate 515 in Henderson and extending west to meet Interstate 15 southwest of McCarran International Airport. A portion of Interstate 215 (between Stephanie Street and Warm Springs Road) is maintained by Clark County, which is an anomaly (most Interstate highways are maintained by state departments of transportation, not local agencies).
Leaving the Interstate 15 interchange, Interstate 215 transitions directly onto Clark County 215; Clark County again maintains the beltway from this point west, north, and east back to Interstate 15. Clark County 215 follows the Las Vegas Beltway west through unincorporated Clark County, turning north just west of Durango Drive toward Summerlin. The beltway turns back east near the U.S. 95 interchange, then rejoins Interstate 15 near Nellis Air Force Base. Not all of the Clark County 215 segment of the beltway is freeway; a good portion of it is still expressway or even frontage road. Full freeway completion is expected in 2013. Once Clark County 215 is brought up to full freeway standards, it is possible that route would become part of a much longer Interstate 215 belt route to the south and west of Las Vegas.
Interstate 515 is the Las Vegas Expressway that bisects Interstate 15 in downtown Las Vegas. Interstate 515 was officially commissioned in 1990 but was signed only as U.S. 93-95 until 1994, which was the same year in which the freeway bypassed the city of Henderson to the south. U.S. 93-95 remains cosigned with Interstate 515 for its entire length.
U.S. 91 was the original designation for what is now the Interstate 15 corridor between today's Primm and Mesquite via Las Vegas. This major corridor was replaced by Interstate 15; remnant segments of the old road include Las Vegas Boulevard and Nevada 604.
U.S. 93 is a major route, entering the Las Vegas region by crossing the Colorado River via Hoover Dam. Leaving Lake Mead National Recreation Area, U.S. 93 serves Boulder City and picks up U.S. 95 near Railroad Pass. After passing through Railroad Pass, U.S. 93-95 becomes a full freeway as it enters Henderson, where the third designation of Interstate 515 begins. At the downtown Spaghetti Bowl Interchange, U.S. 93 turns north along with Interstate 15. The routes divide north of Apex near Garnet; U.S. 93 then follows the Great Basin Highway north along the eastern spine of Nevada toward Great Basin National Park and Ely. The remaining non-freeway portions of U.S. 93 between the Arizona-Nevada state line and Railroad Pass are slated for freeway upgrades; once those are completed, Interstate 515 is likely to be extended southeast into Arizona.
U.S. 95 enters the Silver State of Nevada northwest of Needles, connecting with Nevada 163 and assuming a four-lane expressway configuration from Cal-Nev-Ari north to Searchlight and Railroad Pass, where U.S. 95 meets U.S. 93. Merging with Interstate 515, U.S. 95 travels northwest into downtown Las Vegas, then follows the Oran K. Gragson Expressway west and then north through the metropolitan area. U.S. 95 retains four lanes at least as far northwest as Indian Springs and Mercury. From there, the federal highway travels along the western spine of Nevada, serving Amargosa Valley, Beatty, Goldfield, Tonopah, and Reno.
U.S. 466 was the original designation for what is now the U.S. 93 corridor between Kingman, Arizona, and Las Vegas via Hoover Dam and Boulder City. With the extension of U.S. 93 southeast to Wickenburg, Arizona, U.S. 466 became a superfluous designation in Nevada, as it shared alignment with U.S. 93 between Hoover Dam and downtown Las Vegas, then followed U.S. 91 (now Interstate 15) from downtown southwest to what is now Primm. Prior to 1964, U.S. 466 continued southwest to Barstow, then took a route that roughly follows today's California 58, California 99, California 46, and California 41 to end at Morro Bay, California, along the coast. After U.S. 466 was eliminated from California, Nevada followed suited with removal of the U.S. 466 designation by 1972. The only tangible evidence left that reminds of old U.S. 466 is the outline of a shield found on the back of a very old "Downtown" trailblazer located along Las Vegas Boulevard south of the Stratosphere.
Nevada 146 is Saint Rose Parkway, which connects Interstate 15 south of the metropolitan area with Interstate 215. As of 2010, Saint Rose Parkway has four through lanes in each direction for its entire length. Prior to 2002, Nevada 146 continued east, cosigned with Interstate 215 to connect with Interstate 515. Nevada 146 used to continue along Lake Mead Drive to connect with Lake Mead National Recreation Area, but that segment of Nevada 146 east of Interstate 515 is now Nevada 564. Officially, Nevada 146 ends at Junction Interstate 215, but some shields from when it was cosigned may remain on the concurrent stretch with Interstate 215.
Nevada 147 is Lake Mead Boulevard, which connects Interstate 15 in the city of North Las Vegas with Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Red Rock Canyon Road
Blue Diamond Road
Nevada 159 travels from Nevada 160/Pahrump Valley Road east to Nevada 612/Nellis Boulevard in the city of Las Vegas. This east-west highway provides the most direct access from downtown Las Vegas to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Operated by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Red Rock Canyon area is a popular area for hiking and sightseeing along a one-way loop road accessible off of Nevada 159.
Nevada 160, which begins at U.S. 95 west of Mercury, heads south into Pahrump in Nye County, then turns east to enter the Las Vegas metropolitan area via Blue Mountain Road and Mountain Springs Summit (elevation 5,502 feet), passing south of Red Rocks en route to meeting Interstate 15 and Nevada 604 south of the Strip. The section of Nevada 160 immediately west of Interstate 15 was reconstructed in the mid-2000s.
Nevada 171 is the McCarran International Airport Connector, a short freeway from Interstate 215 north to Nevada 562/Sunset Road. From that point north, the Connector continues north under the airport in a pair of tunnels to connect with Nevada 593/Tropicana Avenue on the north side. The portion of the Airport Connector between Sunset Road and Tropicana Avenue is not technically part of Nevada 171 (as it is maintained by the airport), but it carries a great deal of airport-bound traffic. The Nevada 171 freeway and airport connector tunnels were completed and opened to traffic in 1994.
Nevada 562 is Sunset Road, which is a major east-west arterial in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The state highway begins at Las Vegas Boulevard and extends east past the southern edge of McCarran International Airport ending at Boulder Highway (Nevada 582, which is old U.S. 93-95). Nevada 562 has an interchange with Nevada 171/Airport Connector and with Interstate 515 and U.S. 93-95.
Nevada 562/Sunset Road west
An end sign lies along Nevada 562 (Sunset Road) westbound for the end of its eastern segment. Nevada 562 begins at Nevada 582 (Boulder Highway) and ends at Gibson Road adjacent to Interstate 515 & U.S. 93-95. The state highway resumes at Annie Oakley Drive and ends again at Nevada 604 (Las Vegas Boulevard). Photo taken 10/19/04.
Nevada 573 is Craig Road, an east-west arterial across Las Vegas and North Las Vegas. The state highway begins at U.S. 95 and extends east to Nevada 604/Las Vegas Boulevard near Nellis Air Force Base. The section of Craig Road between Decatur Boulevard and Lossee Road is not state maintained (as of January 2008).
Nevada 574 is Cheyenne Avenue between U.S. 95/Oran K. Gragson Highway and Nevada 612/Nellis Boulevard through the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas.
Nevada 578 is a very short state route that connects Interstate 15 at the D Street interchange with Nevada 604/Las Vegas Boulevard. It is unsigned except for a few white reference markers.
Nevada 579 is Bonanza Road, an east-west arterial that originates on Business U.S. 95 (Nevada 599)/Rancho Drive and travels east to end at Former Nevada 604/Las Vegas Boulevard near downtown Las Vegas.
Boulder Highway, the original route of U.S. 93-95-466 connecting Boulder City with downtown Las Vegas, is largely intact as a state highway. Nevada 582 begins at Interstate 515 and U.S. 93-95 at the Wagonwheel Interchange in Henderson and travels northwest along Boulder Highway into the city of Las Vegas, ending at Seventh Street (just a few blocks southeast of the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas).
Nevada 582 is Sahara Avenue between Nevada 595/Rainbow Boulevard and Nevada 612/Nellis Boulevard across Las Vegas. East of Interstate 15, the state highway serves as the boundary between unincorporated Clark County and the city of Las Vegas on the north.
Spring Mountain Road
Nevada 591 is a short state route that covers Spring Mountain Road through the Interstate 15 interchange; the most recent state route log lists this state highway as a frontage road rather than a state signed route. The remainder of Spring Mountain Road to the west and Sands Avenue/Twain Avenue to the east are not state maintained. The intersection between Spring Mountain Road, Las Vegas Boulevard, and Sands Avenue features Wynn Hotel & Casino (NE corner), Palazzo (SE corner), Treasure Island (SW corner), and Fashion Show Mall (NW corner).
Flamingo Road is designated as Nevada 592 from Nevada 595/Rainbow Boulevard east to Nevada 582/Boulder Highway. This major east-west arterial serves the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) and the Las Vegas Strip, when it intersects Las Vegas Boulevard. At this busy intersection, the major casino-resorts include the Flamingo (NE corner), Bally's (SE corner), Bellagio (SW corner), and Caesar's Palace (NW corner). A route gap exists between Interstate 15 and former Nevada 605/Paradise Road; otherwise, the rest of Flamingo Road between these two points is state maintained.
Like Nevada 592, parallel Nevada 593 follows an east-west alignment through unincorporated Paradise via Tropicana Avenue. While the National Highway System segment of Tropicana Avenue links Nevada 595/Rainbow Boulevard with Interstate 515, the state-maintained section begins at Dean Martin Drive (Industrial Road), passes over Interstate 15, and extends east to Nevada 582/Boulder Highway. Another major east-west arterial, Tropicana Avenue carries as many as four lanes in each direction through the Las Vegas Strip. Nevada 593 is the most direct route from the Strip to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) and McCarran Airport. At the busy intersection with Las Vegas Boulevard (which possibly was the first along the Strip to feature four elevated pedestrian bridges over vehicle travel lanes), the major casino-resorts include the MGM Grand (NE corner), Tropicana (SE corner), Excalibur (SW corner), and New York New York (NW corner).
Nevada 594 is a very short state highway that follows Russell Road from Polaris Road east through the Interstate 15 interchange to Las Vegas Boulevard (former Nevada 604) near the Mandalay Bay resort. Russell Road cannot continue any further east due to nearby McCarran Airport. However, Russell Road continues west of Interstate 15 and east of McCarran Airport; neither of these segments are state maintained.
Nevada 595 is a north-south arterial that begins at Tropicana Avenue and travels north to U.S. 95/Oran Gragson Highway at the Rainbow Curve interchange (near Summerlin Parkway). Along with Tropicana Avenue, Nevada 595 is part of the National Highway System as an alternate route to U.S. 95 between the same endpoints. Prior to 2003, Nevada 595 continued south to Nevada 160/Pahrump Valley (Blue Diamond) Road.
Nevada 596 is a north-south arterial that begins at Tropicana Avenue and travels north to Smoke Ranch Road on a path that is parallel to and east of Nevada 595/Rainbow Boulevard. Jones Boulevard continues north from Smoke Ranch Road to Business U.S. 95/Rancho Drive (Nevada 599) as a locally maintained street. Due to the decommissioning of Nevada 593 west of Interstate 15, Nevada 596 begins and ends at non-state facilities.
Nevada 596/Jones Boulevard north
This view shows a BEGIN Nevada 596 shield along Jones Boulevard. Photo taken by Nick Christensen (2001).
Nevada 596 approaches Junction U.S. 95/Oran K. Gragson (Las Vegas) Expressway. At the time this photo was taken, the overhead signage had (in narrow font) the words "Las Vegas Expressway" rather than a U.S. 95 shield. Photo taken by Nick Christensen (2001).
Business U.S. 95
Nevada 599 -- which is also partially designated as Business U.S. 95 between the two U.S. 95 interchanges -- follows Rancho Drive between Nevada 589/Sahara Avenue and U.S. 95/Oran Gragson Expressway. The southern interchange between Rancho Drive and U.S. 95 is a single-point urban interchange (SPUI) with a signalized intersection with Nevada 579/Bonanza Road just north of that interchange.
Former Nevada 601
Nevada 601 is the former designation of Main Street through downtown Las Vegas. This state route was completely decommissioned in 2005, with the city of Las Vegas taking over control of the former state highway. Prior to its relinquishment, Nevada 601 connected with Nevada 604 at either end and was known as Alternate U.S. 91 prior to Interstate 15 replacing U.S. 91 in the early 1970s.
Former Nevada 601/Main Street north
Northbound Main Street (former Nevada 601) meets the Fremont Street Experience at this traffic signal. This traffic signal is used by pedestrians to cross Main Street between the Plaza Hotel and Casino and the Fremont Street Experience to the southeast. Photos taken 02/20/10.
Former Nevada 601/Main Street south
Southbound Main Street (former Nevada 601) meets the Fremont Street Experience at this traffic signal. This traffic signal is used by pedestrians to cross Main Street between the Plaza Hotel and Casino and the Fremont Street Experience to the southeast. Photo taken 02/20/10.
Casino Center Boulevard
Nevada 602 is Casino Center Boulevard in downtown Las Vegas from Nevada 579/Bonanza Road south under Interstate 515 to Stewart Avenue, mostly within the footprint of the Interstate 515 interchange adjacent to the Las Vegas Downtown Transportation Center. Casino Center Boulevard continues as a city-maintained street from Stewart Avenue south past the Fremont Street Experience.
Casino Center Boulevard north
Northbound Casino Center Boulevard (former Nevada 602) meets the Fremont Street Experience at this traffic signal. This traffic signal is used by pedestrians to cross Main Street between the Golden Nugget and Binions (to the northwest) and the Fremont and Four Queens (to the southeast). Photo taken 02/20/10.
Casino Center Boulevard south
Southbound Casino Center Boulevard (former Nevada 602) meets the Fremont Street Experience at this traffic signal. This traffic signal is used by pedestrians to cross Main Street between the Golden Nugget and Binions (to the northwest) and the Fremont and Four Queens (to the southeast). Photo taken 02/20/10.
Nevada 604 is Las Vegas Boulevard. It was designated as former U.S. 91 for its entire length (with portions also designated as U.S. 93 and U.S. 466) through the Las Vegas metropolitan area. At its longest, Nevada 604 began at Interstate 15 and Nevada 161 in Jean and extended north through the Las Vegas Strip and downtown Las Vegas, ending at the Interstate 15 Apex Interchange (Exit 58). However, with the ongoing relinquishment of several state highways around the Las Vegas region, Nevada 604 was largely returned to local control in phases between 1998 and 2008, with the most recent decommissioning of the rural highway from Jean to Russell Road (now under Clark County maintenance) in 2006. As of January 2008, the only remaining segment of state-maintained Nevada 604 is from Owens Avenue north to Apex (Junction Interstate 15). Maps from the 1980s (such as Compass Maps) have shown parts of Nevada 604 as Business Loop I-15, but no official documentation proves this business designation was ever used along Las Vegas Boulevard.
Paradise Road extends from McCarran International Airport north to Sahara Avenue (Nevada 589) and Las Vegas Boulevard. The section of Paradise Road between Naples Drive and the northern entrance to the airport is one-way southbound. Paradise Road was formerly designated as Nevada 605, but the state highway designation was eliminated in 2001.
Former Nevada 607
Nevada 607 was the former designation for north-south arterials Eastern Avenue and Civic Center Drive in the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas. Nevada 607 began at Nevada 589/Sahara Avenue and ended at Nevada 574/Cheyenne Avenue. This state route was removed from the state highway system by January 2008.
Nevada 610 is Lamb Boulevard from Nevada 604/Las Vegas Boulevard north to Interstate 15.
Nevada 612 is Nellis Boulevard from Nevada 593/Tropicana Avenue north to Nevada 604/Las Vegas Boulevard. Nellis Boulevard forms part of a square; the other legs are Craig Boulevard (Nevada 573), U.S. 95 and Nevada 595/Rainbow Boulevard, and Nevada 593/Tropicana Avenue.
Desert Inn Road Superarterial
The Desert Inn Road Superarterial is a quick way to traverse Las Vegas in an east-west fashion without having to wait at a traffic light at the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard). This route was designed to connect the east and west parts of Las Vegas with minimal traffic delays and waiting. To that end, the superarterial has had success by avoiding the Las Vegas Strip and using traffic signal interconnection technology and overpasses to accomplish its faster route. The superarterial is not a state facility, as it was constructed by Clark County in 1994.
Desert Inn Road Superarterial west
Begin westbound Wilbur Clark Desert Inn Superarterial. Photo taken 11/00.
At the time this photo was taken, the Las Vegas Convention Center was under construction. Westbound Desert Inn Road was lowered below grade to pass underneath the eventual convention center. The road is below ground level for this stretch, avoiding the strip and Interstate 15. It is not a state highway, as it was built by Clark County. Clark County 215 is another example of the county highway department's work. Photo taken 11/00.
Scenes Pertaining to Desert Inn Road
This view shows Desert Inn Road east from the Las Vegas Monorail Convention Center Station near the intersection of Paradise Road and Desert Inn Road. The Las Vegas Convention Center crosses over the top of the below-grade Desert Inn Road. There are no traffic signals or intersections between Paradise Road and Swenson Street. Photo taken 03/30/08.
Now on the bridge that connects the convention center parking lots, this view follows Desert Inn Road east under the Las Vegas Convention Center. Photo taken 03/30/08.
Large pylons support the Las Vegas Convention Center as Desert Inn Road passes underneath. Photo taken 03/30/08.
Now looking west on Desert Inn Road from the Las Vegas Convention Center toward the Las Vegas Monorail Convention Center Station, the signalized intersection of Paradise Road and Desert Inn Road is located below the monorail station. Photo taken 03/30/08.
Summerlin Parkway was constructed by a developer to connect its new community in the west valley with downtown and the Strip. Since it was privately constructed, it is not part of the state highway system. Its ultimate western terminus is at the Las Vegas Beltway (Clark County 215).
The Las Vegas Monorail was partially built in the airspace above Koval Lane east of the Venetian resort. Koval Lane parallels the Las Vegas Strip on the east side between Tropicana Avenue (Nevada 593) and Sands Avenue. It is a county-maintained street.
Koval Lane north
This view shows the monorail using the airspace above Koval Lane between Westchester Drive and Sands Avenue. A significant section of monorail also travels above Paradise Road north of Sands Avenue. Photo taken 04/02/06.
Removal of State Routes in the Las Vegas Region
Between 1998 and 2010, the state of Nevada has moved to relinquish several state routes within urban areas, especially along busy arterials in Clark County and the city of Las Vegas. While all or some of these routes have been eliminated from the state highway system, they oftentimes appear on maps as if they are still state routes. For our purposes on AARoads.com, we try to discuss the entire length of the arterial roadway, inclusive of the state-maintained segments as well as the county and city-maintained segments. An example of this is Nevada 604, which was mostly removed from the state highway system south of North Las Vegas. Our Nevada 604 page profiles the remaining intact state highway segment as well as the decommissioned segments of Nevada 604 south of downtown Las Vegas.
In August 2000, the City of Las Vegas requested that the state remand control of certain state routes within the city limits to Las Vegas. This was one of the Las Vegas City Council's three priorities for the 2001 session of the Legislature. One would raise the impact fee on all new homes costing more than $100,000; another would give the city more power to annex unincorporated land within city limits; and the third would give the city control over certain streets within its borders that are now controlled by the state.
This third priority would allow the city to take control of certain highways and streets now owned and maintained by the state. According to the article "Mayor yields bid to invest in downtown: Oscar Goodman gives up his quest to change a state law as the council drafts three bill proposals" from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, dated Tuesday, August 8, 2000, streets such as Rainbow Boulevard, Tropicana Avenue and Sahara Avenue, which are now designated as state highways, would be controlled by the city.
In case you're wondering about the article's title, the issue that Mayor Oscar Goodman backed off of was not the city taking control of certain state highways within Las Vegas. The issue was about the mayor planning to recommend a change in a state law that bars elected officials from investing in redevelopment districts. He decided not to pursue that plan after protests from the City Council.
The 2001 Nevada State Legislature may act to decommission some state highways in the City of Las Vegas (and possibly other urban areas in Nevada). An article from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, dated Friday, January 12, 2001, entitled "STATE VS. LOCAL: Entities to take back streets - Officials seek to turn state routes into city streets," by Michael Squires indicates that decommissioning of urban state routes in and around Las Vegas may become reality, starting with a portion of Paradise Road. The route log above does not reflect this decommissioning. At the beginning of 2001, 2.87 miles of Paradise between Tropicana and Sahara Avenues were taken off the state logs. Governor Guinn seems to prefer that the local jurisdiction take over many urban streets, with the obvious exception of the freeways. Among the valley's major arterial streets the state is considering relinquishing are Las Vegas Boulevard, Charleston Boulevard, Cheyenne Avenue, Nellis Boulevard, Craig Road, Rainbow Boulevard and Jones Boulevard.
The article provides an example: Nevada 604, Las Vegas Boulevard. "While legally a state-owned road, Clark County maintains the landscaping in the medians and the sidewalk and pedestrian walkways, regulates sidewalk vendors and news racks and handles traffic enforcement. The state's only involvement on its road is to take care of the pavement itself and add another layer of regulation. Utility companies and contractors are required to get permits from both the county and the state to work in the area and Clark County must also obtain permits from the state to perform any of its work on the roadway."
It is also noteworthy that many of the local freeways -- including most of the beltway and all of Summerlin Parkway -- are locally maintained and are not assigned state route designations. Even a portion of Interstate 215 is maintained by Clark County.