I-15 north of Exit 54
This view shows Interstate 15 and U.S. 93 north from the Speedway Boulevard interchange (Exit 54) in North Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Basin sits in the Mojave Desert, which offers mountainous, arid scenery from Southern California into Southern Nevada. Photo taken 03/29/08.

Interstate 15 runs from the community of Barrio Logan in San Diego, California, north to Sweetgrass, Montana, via Riverside, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Pocatello, Butte and Helena. Interstate 15 enters Nevada with four lanes, but quickly expands to six lanes from Primm northward. Through Las Vegas, the freeway expands to 11 lanes, including Express Lanes and auxiliary lanes.

Beyond Nevada 573 (Craig Road) in North Las Vegas, I-15 reduces back to four lanes. The freeway exits the urban area beyond Las Vegas Motor Speedway, transitioning to open desert and barren hills through to Moapa and Mesquite. Throughout Nevada, I-15 replaced U.S. 91 & 466 north to Las Vegas, and U.S. 91 north to Virgin River Gorge in Arizona. U.S. 93 accompanies I-15 from Downtown Las Vegas to Garnet (Exit 64).

Interstate 15 Nevada Highway Guides

Business Routes

Guide

Crossing into the Silver State, Interstate 15 travels through the unincorporated community of Primm. Primm is notable for being the first resorts and casino seen on northbound Interstate 15 in the Mojave Desert. A towering roller coaster, and the first nighttime illumination since leaving Baker, differentiates Primm from the surrounding desert.

Primm was known as Stateline for a time, but was given the name Primm to avoid confusion with the other Stateline located at the California-Nevada boundary along U.S. 50 on the south shore of Lake Tahoe. It is a short jaunt from Primm to Jean, another roadside gaming community. Jean marks the midway point between Primm and the southern outskirts of greater Las Vegas.

Interstate 15 between Primm and Las Vegas has seen tremendous growth along with the traffic demands of the roadway. By the end of 2002, I-15 had been expanded to six lanes for the entire distance from Primm to Las Vegas, even though the freeway in California remained with just four lanes by that time. Plans remain for eventual six-laning of Interstate 15, from Primm southwest to Barstow, plus additional truck climbing lanes. Truck lanes are already in place for most uphill grades and some downhill grades. By 2008, Interstate 15 saw additional widening and interchange modifications, including the addition of Express Lanes. The first completed segment was just north of Interstate 215 in the vicinity of the Las Vegas Strip.

Las Vegas looms boldly in the horizon whether you are arriving by day or night. This city never sleeps - one can gamble 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Casinos are strewn throughout the city, but most are concentrated along the fabled "Strip" or in Downtown Las Vegas. The Strip actually parallels I-15 between the Fish Bowl interchange with Interstate 215 (Bruce Woodbury Beltway) and a point just south of the Downtown exits; Downtown is located near the Spaghetti Bowl interchange with Interstate 515 & U.S. 93-95 (Oran K. Gragson Freeway).

Commonly referred to as "Sin City," Las Vegas is stark in contrast to cities further north along the I-15 corridor, such as Salt Lake City and Provo in Utah, since those cities are typically connected with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS, or Mormon) and its pious ways. Las Vegas is an amazing city full of contrasts and extremes. The 100-degree days are tempered by the numerous waterfalls and man made lakes. Single family homes abut against casinos and gaming halls. Extravagant casinos with motif facades (such as medieval castles, Egyptian pyramids, and major cities) compare with the lesser parts of Las Vegas in need of redevelopment.

While worldwide visitors come to Las Vegas to see the Strip and its fabulous resorts, others make their home in Las Vegas and never even go to the Strip. Many Nevadans respect the fact that the casinos bring in big revenue and jobs, but they stay away from it, as they do not want it to be part of their daily lives. Of course, there are many aspiring actors, musicians, waitresses, entrepreneurs, and others who see the Las Vegas Strip as an endless land of opportunity, a place to make a living.

Interstate 15 labors through the southern outskirts of Las Vegas all the way past the Strip and Downtown to the city of North Las Vegas with increasing traffic. With incredible growth over a 30 year period in Las Vegas, the freeway saw several improvements and roadwork through the 1990s and 2000s, including the completion of Express Lanes by 2010. Supplemental freeways, such as Summerlin Parkway, Interstate 515, and the Bruce Woodbury Beltway were constructed through the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. These freeways are similarly becoming well-traveled with cross-town travelers and commuters. New casinos construction continues, while old ones are demolished with state-of-the-art implosion devices. Even with the Great Recession in 2008, people still flocked to greater Las Vegas.

Significant sections of Spaghetti Bowl interchange, which connects Interstate 15 with I-515 south, U.S. 93 south and U.S. 95 (Oran K. Gragson Freeway) was reconstructed during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Most construction was completed in March 2000, when then-Governor Kenny Guinn cut the ribbon on the last major ramp at the exchange, the 50-foot high flyover connecting I-15 north with Martin Luther King Boulevard. The first ramp at the three level interchange opened in Winter 1999. Other aspects of the project include:

  • Two lane flyover from Interstate 15 north to U.S. 95 north, with a slip ramp to Martin Luther King Boulevard
  • Two lane flyover from U.S. 95 south to Interstate 15 south
  • Two lane ramp from Interstate 15 north to I-515 & U.S. 93-95 south, including an auxiliary lane to Casino Center
  • Single lane flyover from Interstate 15 south to U.S. 95 north, including a side ramp to Martin Luther King Boulevard
  • Single lane flyover from Interstate 15 south to I-515 & U.S. 93-95 south
  • Two lane flyover from I-515 & U.S. 93-95 north to Interstate 15 south
  • Single lane ramp from U.S. 95 north to Martin Luther King Boulevard
  • Connections from Martin Luther King Boulevard to the U.S. 95 southbound ramps to both directions of I-15
  • Expansion of U.S. 95 to six overall lanes through the exchange

The original directional cloverleaf interchange between the two freeways was built to handle 60,000 cars per day. The new interchange, with an expected life span of 20 years, is built to accommodate 500,000 cars per day.

U.S. 93 combines with Interstate 15 northward from the Spaghetti Bowl interchange into North Las Vegas. Traffic counts decrease sa the freeway progresses to the northern boundaries of the Las Vegas urban area. Beyond Las Vegas Motor Speedway, much of the land is low-altitude desert, with some Joshua Trees and abundant sagebrush all around. U.S. 93 departs the freeway at Apex and proceeds north along the Great Basin Highway to travel along the desolate yet scenic eastern spine of Nevada. Interstate 15 enters the Moapa Indian Reservation and quickly exits as it heads northeast toward Mesquite, the Virgin River Gorge, and St. George, Utah.

Mesquite is another border gambling city similar to Primm. Since there is far less traffic heading south into Nevada, Mesquite is not as overt as Primm is, but there are several casinos and gaming halls to go around.

The Mesquite city limits exit east to the Arizona state line. Through the northwestern corner of Arizona, Interstate 15 was bored through the Virgin River Gorge. Freeway construction here was the most expensive stretch of road ever built when it was completed. The Big Dig project (reconstruction of Interstates 90 and 93 in Boston) superseded I-15 in Arizona by 2007.

Aside from the small community of Littlefield, there are no additional motorist facilities on Interstate 15 until St. George, Utah, which is another study in contrasts. Southern Utah is notorious for its strong, conservative Mormon population; however, retirees from other parts of the country have retired there for its warmth and beauty year-round. Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, plus the beauty of the Great Basin and eventually the Wasatch Front lie northward along the I-15 corridor.


Interstate 15 scenes
Primm is an unincorporated community located along the California state line on Interstate 15 at Exit 1. Primm Boulevard is the lone surface street serving the casinos (Whiskey Pete's to the west and Buffalo Bill's to the east), Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas and area services. Photo taken 02/21/10.
Emerging from below the I-15 overpasses, Primm Boulevard meets the northbound on-ramp to Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo taken 02/21/10.
South Las Vegas Boulevard parallels the east side of I-15, intersecting Primm Boulevard at this traffic signal. The Desperado roller coaster spans the arterial from the adjacent Primm Valley resort to the south. This section of South Las Vegas Boulevard is discontinuous from the long extant section from Jean north to Las Vegas. Photo taken 02/21/10.
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Entering the diamond interchange (Exit 1) with Interstate 15 on Primm Boulevard westbound. Prior to development of State Line as Primm, this exchange formerly was a parclo B2. Photos taken 02/21/10.
Spring Mountain Road eastbound at the directional cloverleaf interchange (Exit 39) with Interstate 15. A high-speed flyover carries southbound motorists onto Spring Mountain Road east ahead of the Las Vegas Strip in the distance. Photo taken October 2001.
Washington Avenue westbound at the split-diamond interchange (Exit 44) with Interstate 15 northwest of Downtown Las Vegas. Reconstruction of I-15 here completed by 2011 rebuilt the freeway overpasses. Photo taken 10/19/04.
Freeway entrance shield assembly located at the diamond interchange (Exit 100) with Carp Elgin Road. Photo taken 10/19/04.



Photo Credits:

October 2001, 10/19/04, 02/21/10 by AARoads

Connect with:
Interstate 215 / Clark County 215 - Bruce Woodbury Beltway
Interstate 515 - Oran K. Gragson Freeway
U.S. 95

Page Updated 03-13-2018.