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Author Topic: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas  (Read 22489 times)

Kniwt

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US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« on: February 24, 2020, 05:50:04 PM »

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports:
https://www.reviewjournal.com/local/local-las-vegas/downtown/major-us-95-road-project-in-downtown-las-vegas-could-cost-1b-1964634/

Quote
In what could be the U.S. Highway 95 equivalent of Project Neon, early plans for a Downtown access project reveal possible striking changes for the highway in downtown Las Vegas.

The project will reconfigure a 4-mile portion of U.S. 95 and could carry a $1 billion price tag, according to the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada documents. That would be the same as Project Neon, which was the largest and most expensive public works project in state history.

... The project, whose scope is between Rancho Drive and Mojave Road, would add lane capacity to U.S. 95 through the corridor and extend the HOV lanes from Martin Luther King Boulevard to Eastern.

Initial plans also call for braided ramps between I-15 and U.S. 95 and the construction of new HOV interchanges at City and Maryland parkways.

The project would be the first update to the U.S. 95 viaduct, or elevated road running from Martin Luther King to just east of Las Vegas Boulevard, since it was built in the 1960s.




MOD NOTE: Changed thread title (originally "$1 billion rebuild eyed for US 95 in downtown LV") on 8/25/2020, since "Downtown Access Project" seems to be the official name now. –Roadfro
« Last Edit: August 25, 2020, 12:34:26 PM by roadfro »
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Mark68

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2020, 06:56:55 PM »

Ha! We always joke about the two seasons in Colorado: winter and road construction.

You only have one season in Vegas!
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sparker

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2020, 03:09:51 AM »

Ha! We always joke about the two seasons in Colorado: winter and road construction.

You only have one season in Vegas!

That seems about right.  Have exhibited and/or attended the Winter CES in that town regularly since 1982; can't recall a time when there was no major construction along or near I-15, US 95/I-515, and the nascent 215 loop -- not to mention the airport accessways and the connectors between 15 and the Strip.  Guess it's all part of the growth in the metro area and the commensurate need to address the needs of the major regional employers and both their customers and staff. 
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roadfro

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2020, 10:55:46 AM »

NDOT Downtown Access Project website: https://ndotdap.com/


Well, this project is sorely needed, so I'm glad NDOT is looking at this. Too bad the timeline is running out so far–environmental study by 2023, design by 2027 and construction by 2031...

The downtown leg of US 95/I-515 is the only part of the four freeway legs surrounding the Spaghetti Bowl that has not been reconstructed and widened within the last 10-15 years. The segment is showing its age, especially with the closely-spaced ramps between I-15, Casino Center/4th, and Las Vegas Blvd. That 4th St NB on ramp to US 95 is not very forgiving, requiring a merge out of the auxiliary lane within about 500 feet to avoid being forced off to I-15 south–especially challenging when the ramp meter is on, as the meter is very close to the end of the ramp so you're trying to do that merge at less than freeway speed unless you floor it. Also, the viaduct portion between Las Vegas Blvd and the Bruce St crossing (just west of Eastern Ave), while constructed in 1980, is sagging badly–there's a bit of a roller coaster effect as you travel in either direction. A prior scoping study for I-515 improvements that was started in the mid 2000s also eyed replacing or expanding the downtown viaduct–this study was quietly discontinued, perhaps due to the recession and need to put greater focus onto I-15 projects in the last decade or so.

Interestingly, some form of access ramp to City Pkwy has been proposed in various studies in the past decade, so it is good to see the concept survive. Now with the talk of extending the HOV lanes on US 95 past the Spaghetti Bowl, a HOV interchange makes sense (and will be a better access point for express bus routes from the northwest to reach the downtown bus station than the I-15 Neon Gateway HOV interchange). Also interestingly, a regular interchange at Maryland Pkwy was even contemplated in original studies that led to the construction of I-515, but ultimately never constructed–an HOV interchange here might relieve some pressure from the Eastern Ave interchange.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2020, 11:53:57 PM »

This is excellent news! I do wish the schedule would be moved up a bit. It would be nice if construction starts in 2025/2026.
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Mark68

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2020, 01:42:54 PM »

This is excellent news! I do wish the schedule would be moved up a bit. It would be nice if construction starts in 2025/2026.

Seems like this will be complete in time for 95/515 to finally get the I-11 designation.  :bigass:
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2020, 02:12:15 PM »

This is excellent news! I do wish the schedule would be moved up a bit. It would be nice if construction starts in 2025/2026.

Seems like this will be complete in time for 95/515 to finally get the I-11 designation.  :bigass:
This was my thought as well.
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vdeane

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2020, 08:51:28 PM »

This is excellent news! I do wish the schedule would be moved up a bit. It would be nice if construction starts in 2025/2026.

Seems like this will be complete in time for 95/515 to finally get the I-11 designation.  :bigass:
This was my thought as well.
Is US 95 through the city not interstate standards?  I would think the only thing preventing I-11 from being designated through Vegas is that they're still studying the alternatives for I-11 to go through the metro area (officially, all three are still on the table, but the designation of I-11 to I-215 would seem to indicate that the eastern bypass option has been unofficially ruled out).
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roadfro

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2020, 11:14:55 AM »

Is US 95 through the city not interstate standards?  I would think the only thing preventing I-11 from being designated through Vegas is that they're still studying the alternatives for I-11 to go through the metro area (officially, all three are still on the table, but the designation of I-11 to I-215 would seem to indicate that the eastern bypass option has been unofficially ruled out).

US 95 through the city is pretty much interstate standards. Keep in mind that the leg of US 95 east of the Spaghetti Bowl/I-15 (where this Downtown Access Project would take place) has been signed as I-515 since the mid 1990s (and approved as I-515 on paper since the mid-1970s, prior to any of it being constructed). It's this downtown section, built in the 1980s, that is a bit substandard by today's interstate standards by virtue of some closely-spaced interchanges and narrower shoulders.

If NDOT decided on the "US 95" alternative for I-11 today, I don't see any design-based reason they couldn't switch out the I-515 shields for I-11 shields today (not to mention put up I-11 shields all the way to CC 215 in NW Las Vegas).
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sparker

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2020, 01:53:49 PM »

Is US 95 through the city not interstate standards?  I would think the only thing preventing I-11 from being designated through Vegas is that they're still studying the alternatives for I-11 to go through the metro area (officially, all three are still on the table, but the designation of I-11 to I-215 would seem to indicate that the eastern bypass option has been unofficially ruled out).

US 95 through the city is pretty much interstate standards. Keep in mind that the leg of US 95 east of the Spaghetti Bowl/I-15 (where this Downtown Access Project would take place) has been signed as I-515 since the mid 1990s (and approved as I-515 on paper since the mid-1970s, prior to any of it being constructed). It's this downtown section, built in the 1980s, that is a bit substandard by today's interstate standards by virtue of some closely-spaced interchanges and narrower shoulders.

If NDOT decided on the "US 95" alternative for I-11 today, I don't see any design-based reason they couldn't switch out the I-515 shields for I-11 shields today (not to mention put up I-11 shields all the way to CC 215 in NW Las Vegas).

I'm just wondering if the delay regarding the I-11 route through LV might be a result of Strip interests pressing to have I-11 overlay the 215 loop to bring it closer to the newer Strip-area development (and the Raiders stadium, for that matter).  Personally, I don't think a renumbering would result in significantly increased traffic (once the western loop is fully completed), but those perceiving otherwise may not agree. 
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MarkF

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2020, 05:31:08 AM »

I was out in Vegas last month and took a video of US 95 from Summerlin Pkwy to I-215, which includes the older viaduct stretch past I-15.

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SSR_317

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #11 on: February 29, 2020, 01:39:22 PM »

I was out in Vegas last month and took a video of US 95 from Summerlin Pkwy to I-215, which includes the older viaduct stretch past I-15.
Cool, thanks!
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Sub-Urbanite

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2020, 10:27:41 AM »

Definitely needed but I hope NDOT does a wide look at build alternatives.

The viaduct may have made sense in the 1970s, but it feels like that route would be better served by a downtown trench than the current viaduct. Maybe. Or maybe an EIS will show that that is not a good idea. Can't know until you research it.
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skluth

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2020, 12:48:13 PM »

Definitely needed but I hope NDOT does a wide look at build alternatives.

The viaduct may have made sense in the 1970s, but it feels like that route would be better served by a downtown trench than the current viaduct. Maybe. Or maybe an EIS will show that that is not a good idea. Can't know until you research it.
It would definitely need research. I'd worry a trench would flash flood. It doesn't take much water to turn an entrenched highway into a death trap.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2020, 10:52:04 AM »

Virtual meeting is now up:

https://www.nevadadot.com/Home/Components/News/News/6352/395?fsiteid=1



I would prefer keeping it elevated but based on what their plans are it is almost certain they go with the below grade option. Hopefully they provide an opportunity for the city to build a park cap over sections of it. Exciting stuff!

Project website: https://ndotdap.com/
« Last Edit: August 25, 2020, 11:00:22 AM by Plutonic Panda »
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BigManFromAFRICA88

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2020, 02:15:53 PM »

Virtual meeting is now up:

https://www.nevadadot.com/Home/Components/News/News/6352/395?fsiteid=1



I would prefer keeping it elevated but based on what their plans are it is almost certain they go with the below grade option. Hopefully they provide an opportunity for the city to build a park cap over sections of it. Exciting stuff!

Project website: https://ndotdap.com/
Looks like they're doing their best to eliminate all that weaving from the I-15 ramps, which is excellent and much needed. If a cap is built I'm hoping it can be another Fremont Street type area for downtown Vegas and dilute some attention from just the Strip.
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Sub-Urbanite

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2020, 11:39:26 PM »

All I can say from that rendering is — yow.

NDOT not really learning from other cities and proposing what appears to be a very noisy 600 foot trench between downtown and the Cultural Corridor.

If I were on the Las Vegas City Council, I'd be furious — and I'd be demanding a Margaret Hance Park solution before anything moved forward.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2020, 11:47:12 PM »

That rendering is beautiful and will solve traffic issues for the next 50 years if built. What is the problem?
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Sub-Urbanite

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2020, 01:22:09 AM »

That rendering is beautiful and will solve traffic issues for the next 50 years if built. What is the problem?

Gets to the question of who benefits, and at whose expense? That’s a wall. A giant wall north of downtown.

And in a city with the historic racial justice issues that Las Vegas has, it might also be a message.

I’m not saying NDOT should exclusively pay for a cap. But if I lived or worked north of that? I’m getting a message that I need to stay on my side of the wall.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2020, 02:28:20 AM »

I wouldn’t get that message at all. The message I’d get is that NDOT is investing in the infrastructure and that helps me. I fail to see the issue.
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roadfro

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2020, 12:19:04 PM »

NDOT not really learning from other cities and proposing what appears to be a very noisy 600 foot trench between downtown and the Cultural Corridor.

If I were on the Las Vegas City Council, I'd be furious — and I'd be demanding a Margaret Hance Park solution before anything moved forward.
Gets to the question of who benefits, and at whose expense? That’s a wall. A giant wall north of downtown.

And in a city with the historic racial justice issues that Las Vegas has, it might also be a message.

I’m not saying NDOT should exclusively pay for a cap. But if I lived or worked north of that? I’m getting a message that I need to stay on my side of the wall.

I'm curious about your perspective on this. Are you saying the depressed freeway option is worse than an elevated freeway (which is what's there now and is the two other build options)?

Seems to me like an elevated freeway would be a more imposing "wall" than a depressed freeway. And given that the city's "Cultural Corridor" connects to Downtown primarily via Las Vegas Blvd (which maintains access in all build options), that access is not cut off.

What I do see is that several numbered streets east of downtown, primarily residential in nature, will no longer cross the freeway (this is common to all build scenarios, not just the trench alternative), although two of the streets will have ped/bike crossings. A similar issue was a major point of contention when NDOT widened I-15 north of the Spaghetti Bowl and closed off the F Street underpass in a historically black neighborhood, and they ended up later going back and reconstructing the underpass after a lawsuit–this project area has less of the historical racial background issues, but I'm guessing the area now has more low SES and higher minority populations than in the past.
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triplemultiplex

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2020, 12:35:38 PM »



They put a truck on the HOV exit in that rendering. :-D
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X99

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2020, 01:35:20 PM »



They put a truck on the HOV exit in that rendering. :-D

It's actually carrying the minimum number of people required to use the HOV lane. Just don't tell anyone how many.
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BigManFromAFRICA88

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #23 on: August 26, 2020, 02:05:47 PM »

That rendering is beautiful and will solve traffic issues for the next 50 years if built. What is the problem?

Gets to the question of who benefits, and at whose expense? That’s a wall. A giant wall north of downtown.

And in a city with the historic racial justice issues that Las Vegas has, it might also be a message.

I’m not saying NDOT should exclusively pay for a cap. But if I lived or worked north of that? I’m getting a message that I need to stay on my side of the wall.

It's why I'm a big fan of caps and tunnelling anyway. Australia's been embracing it and to some extent they can have their cake of cohesive neighborhoods and smoother traffic flow and eat it at the same time. Without the cap it creates more separation in a downtown area that's losing its luster near predominantly POC areas of town, just like how a lot of interstate highways were built in the first place; we're supposed to move past that by now.
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Sub-Urbanite

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Re: US 95 Downtown Access Project, Las Vegas
« Reply #24 on: August 26, 2020, 09:45:07 PM »

That rendering is beautiful and will solve traffic issues for the next 50 years if built. What is the problem?

Gets to the question of who benefits, and at whose expense? That’s a wall. A giant wall north of downtown.

And in a city with the historic racial justice issues that Las Vegas has, it might also be a message.

I’m not saying NDOT should exclusively pay for a cap. But if I lived or worked north of that? I’m getting a message that I need to stay on my side of the wall.

It's why I'm a big fan of caps and tunnelling anyway. Australia's been embracing it and to some extent they can have their cake of cohesive neighborhoods and smoother traffic flow and eat it at the same time. Without the cap it creates more separation in a downtown area that's losing its luster near predominantly POC areas of town, just like how a lot of interstate highways were built in the first place; we're supposed to move past that by now.


Exactly this. Even if you're physically comfortable walking across the 600 foot trench; even if you don't see it as a psychological barrier; that's still exposure to exhaust and noise pollution, which have real, quantifiable health impacts.

To be clear — freeway needs to be rebuilt, hell yes. But what I see there is a doing it on the cheap, and the expense will be passed on to the people who *least* use the freeway — people who live or work near it.

We are supposed to be smarter and more equitable than we were 70 years ago.
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