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 — spreads across a basin in the Mojave Desert near Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. Travelers coming into the Las Vegas basin from any direction at night will see the glow of the city 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 north since leaving 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 2010, the official Census population of Clark County was 1,951,269. Of this amount, the city of Las Vegas accounted for 583,756 people. The remaining population lives in burgeoning Henderson, the city of North Las Vegas, or in the heavily populated unincorporated areas of Clark County. Most of the major, well-known resorts are located on the Las Vegas Strip, which lies along Las Vegas Boulevard between Russell Road and Sahara Avenue in the unincorporated areas 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 constructed at a rate unseen outside of Las Vegas, and the Phoenix metropolitan area in neighboring Arizona. As a result, more arterials and highways are being constructed in Las Vegas, with development of the Interstate 11 corridor improving connectivity to the Phoenix area to the southeast.
Las Vegas – 1968
Boulder City Bypass
A 12.5 mile section of Interstate 11 is under construction from Railroad Pass south around Boulder City and northeast to the Hoover Dam Bypass (U.S. 93) in the El Dorado Mountains. The first 2.5 mile section opened to traffic southbound between the interchanges at Railroad Pass Casino and U.S. 95 on August 15, 2017.3 Costing $83 million, the phase wrapped up on January 24, 2018, with the northbound lanes open from U.S. 95 and the overall four-lane freeway between Silverline Road and Foothill Drive.4
Second phase construction on the Boulder City Bypass, extending east from U.S. 98 to the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, runs through October 2018.4 The Hoover Dam Bypass, currently signed as U.S. 93, will also be included in an extension of I-11 east across the Colorado River into Arizona. Interstate 11 was formally established in 2012.
Las Vegas Freeway
With over 300,000 vehicles per day (vpd) using Interstate 15, the freeway 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.
Project NEON, underway from July 2016 to July 2019, upgrades 3.7 miles of Interstate 15 from Sahara Avenue north to the Spaghetti Bowl interchange with Interstate 515 and U.S. 95 (Oran K. Gragson Freeway) at Downtown Las Vegas. Work adds a direct HOV connects between I-15 and U.S. 95 (Oran K. Gragson Freeway) to the west. Coupled with reconstruction of the Charleston Interchange with SR 159, a new I-15 HOV interchange, named the “Neon Gateway” will also be built.
Las Vegas (Bruce Woodbury) Beltway
Interstate 215 is the Las Vegas Beltway, beginning at I-515 in Henderson and extending west to meet I-15 southwest of McCarran International Airport (LAS). A portion of Interstate 215, between Stephanie Street and Warm Springs Road, is maintained by Clark County. This is an anomaly for an Interstate Highway, as most are maintained by state departments of transportation and not local agencies. However I-215 is not unique with this distinction, as Interstate 83 through Baltimore is maintained by the city instead of the state as well.
West from I-15 through Enterprise, Interstate 215 transitions into Clark County 215 (CC-215). Clark County again maintains the remainder of the beltway from this point west, north, and east back to Interstate 15 at North Las Vegas. CC-215 travels west through unincorporated Clark County, turning north beyond Durango Drive toward the planned community of Summerlin. Work from September 2015 through 2018 upgrades an at-grade section of the beltway north from Craig Road to Hualapai Way.
The beltway turns back east near U.S. 95, where the NDOT Northwest Corridor Improvements Project through 2019 or later completes a high speed interchange between the two freeways. As of 2017, the northeastern extent, from Losee Road to I-15 near Nellis Air Force Base, remains an at-grade roadway using the frontage road system.
Oran K. Gragson Freeway
Interstate 515 overlays U.S. 93 and U.S. 95 along the Las Vegas Expressway southeast from I-15 at Downtown Las Vegas to Henderson. The route was established in 1976, but not signed until 1995, when the southern extent of the Oran K. Gragson Freeway at Henderson was completed.
I-515 south from I-215 at Henderson was renumbered as Interstate 11 following the opening of a 2.5 mile section of the Boulder City Bypass on August 15, 2017.
Historic U.S. 91 – Arrowhead Highway
U.S. 91 was the original designation for what is now the Interstate 15 corridor between Primm and Mesquite via Las Vegas. Historically known as the Arrowhead Highway, this original auto trail was replaced by I-15. Remnant segments of the old road include Las Vegas Boulevard and Nevada 604.
Great Basin Highway / Hoover Dam Bypass
U.S. 93 is a major route, entering the Las Vegas area across the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge over the Colorado River by Hoover Dam. Leaving Lake Mead National Recreation Area, U.S. 93 serves Boulder City and picks up U.S. 95 near Railroad Pass. Construction of the Boulder City Bypass included the realignment of the two US routes across Railroad Pass onto Interstate 11 north to Henderson. The freeway was completed from the interchange with U.S. 98 north to Foothills Drive in Henderson on January 27, 2018.4
U.S. 93 & 95 combine with Interstate 515 along the Oran K. Gragson Freeway northwest from I-11 and I-215 to Downtown Las Vegas and the Spaghetti Bowl interchange with I-15. U.S. 93 turns north along with Interstate 15 through to Apex and Garnet, where they divide. U.S. 93 then follows the Great Basin Highway north through eastern reaches of Nevada toward Great Basin National Park and Ely.
Bonanza Highway / Oran K. Gragson Freeway
U.S. 95 enters the Silver State northwest of Needles, California connecting with Nevada 163 and assuming a four-lane expressway configuration from Cal-Nev-Ari north to Searchlight and Boulder City. Merging with I-11 & U.S. 93 and then Interstate 515 at Henderson, U.S. 95 travels northwest into Downtown Las Vegas. It continues west and north along the Oran K. Gragson Freeway to Summerlin and Kyle Canyon Road on the northern outskirts of Las Vegas. U.S. 95 retains four lanes northwest through Indian Springs to Mercury. Beyond there, the U.S. highway travels along the western spine of Nevada, serving Amargosa Valley, Beatty, Goldfield, Tonopah and Fallon.
Historic U.S. 466
U.S. 466 was the original designation for what is now U.S. 93 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, California then took a route that roughly follows SR 58, SR 99, SR 46 and SR 41 to end at Morro Bay along the Pacific coast. Once U.S. 466 was eliminated from California, Nevada followed suited with removal of the designation by 1972.
Between 1998 and 2010, the state of Nevada moved to relinquish several state routes within urban areas, especially from the busy arterials in Clark County and the city of Las Vegas. While all or some of these routes have been eliminated from the state route system, they oftentimes remain on maps and mapping web sites.
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 Legislature session. 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 were still controlled by the state.1
This third priority allowed the city to take control of various streets and arterials from state maintenance. This included portions of Rainbow Boulevard, Tropicana Avenue and Sahara Avenue.1 With Governor Guinn supporting the notion that local jurisdictions take control over many urban streets, by 2001 the state considered relinquishing many of the Las Vegas Valley major arterials, including Las Vegas Boulevard, Charleston Boulevard, Cheyenne Avenue, Nellis Boulevard, Craig Road and Jones Boulevard.2
Transfers from the state to local governments consolidated maintenance of the affected roads. For Nevada 604 along Las Vegas Boulevard, the previous arrangement divvied maintenance responsibilities between Clark County and NDOT. Median landscaping, sidewalk and pedestrian maintenance, regulation of sidewalk vendors and traffic enforcement were the responsibility of Clark County, while road maintenance and repaving were undertaken by NDOT. Furthermore utility companies and contractors were required to obtain permits from both agencies prior to working in the area.2
Saint Rose Parkway
Nevada 146 is Saint Rose Parkway, which connects Interstate 15 at southwestern reaches of Henderson, with Interstate 215 at the Green Valley Ranch community. As of 2010, Saint Rose Parkway has four through lanes in each direction for its entire length. The state route totals 6.673 miles from I-15 (Exit 27) at Southern Highlands Parkway to the Pecos Road interchange with I-215.
Prior to 2002, Nevada 146 continued east along side I-215 to connect with Interstate 515 and Lake Mead Parkway east through Henderson. The state route continued into Lake Mead National Recreation Area along Lakeshore Road. The route east of I-215 and I-515 was redesignated as Nevada 564, with the portion through Lake Mead National Recreation Area dropped as a state route.
Lake Mead Boulevard
Nevada 147 is Lake Mead Boulevard, which stems east 14.25 miles from Interstate 15 (Exit 45) in the city of North Las Vegas to Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Charleston Boulevard / Red Rock Canyon Road / Blue Diamond Road
Nevada 159 loops northwest from Nevada 160 (Pahrump Valley Road) to Blue Diamond and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and east to Summerlin and the Clark County 215 beltway. Charleston Boulevard extends the route east across the city of Las Vegas to Nevada 612 (Nellis Boulevard). 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.
Blue Diamond Road
Nevada 160, which begins at U.S. 95 west of Mercury, heads south into Nye County to Pahrump, then turns east to enter the Las Vegas metropolitan area via Blue Mountain Road and Mountain Springs Summit (el. 5,502 feet). Reconstructed in the mid-2000s, Nevada 160 travels through Enterprise to meet Interstate 15 at Exit 33. The state route ends as Las Vegas Boulevard (former Nevada 604) south of the Las Vegas Strip.
Nevada 171 represents the southern 0.639 miles of the Airport Connector, a freeway spurring north from Interstate 215 (Exit 10) to Paradise Road through McCarran International Airport (LAS). State maintenance ends at the south entrance to the tunnels taking the freeway below the airport runways. The remainder of the freeway north is maintained by airport. Ramps at the north end of the freeway connect with Paradise Road and Swenson Streets north to Nevada 593 (Tropicana Avenue).
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 through Paradise The state route begins at Las Vegas Boulevard and extends along the southern edge of McCarran International Airport (LAS) ending at the west urban line of Henderson. The route formerly extended east along Sunset Boulevard to Boulder Highway (Nevada 582). Nevada 562 has an interchange with Nevada 171 (Airport Connector).
|Sunset Road (former Nevada 562) east|
|A begin shield for SR 562 stood along Sunset Road ahead of the diamond interchange with Interstate 515 & U.S. 93-95 (Oran K. Gragson Freeway). Photo taken 10/19/04.|
|Freeway entrance sign assemblies for I-515 & U.S. 93-95 south to Henderson and Boulder City on Sunset Road east. Photos taken 10/19/04.|
|Sunset Road (former Nevada 562) west|
|Sunset Road west from Nevada 582 (Boulder Highway) to Interstate 515 & U.S. 93-95 was previously a part of Nevada 562. An end sign appeared ahead of the interchange with I-515. Photo taken 10/19/04.|
Lake Mead Parkway
Nevada 564 travels east along Lake Mead Parkway from the interchange joining Interstates 215 and 515 through Henderson. The 8.22 miles route ends at the entrance to Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Nevada 573 is Craig Road, an east-west arterial across Las Vegas and North Las Vegas. Split into two segments, the western portion of Nevada 573 lines Craig Road east from U.S. 95 to the North Las Vegas city limits at Decatur Boulevard. The eastern section leads east from the railroad viaduct above Frehner Road, west of I-15, to Nevada 604 (Las Vegas Boulevard) near Nellis Air Force Base.
Nevada 574 is Cheyenne Avenue between U.S. 95 (Oran K. Gragson Freeway) and Nevada 612 (Nellis Boulevard) through the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas.
An unsigned route, Nevada 578 follows 0.661 miles of Washington Avenue from Interstate 15 at the D Street interchange to Las Vegas Boulevard (former Nevada 604), north of Downtown Las Vegas.
Following Bonanza Road, Nevada 579 originates at Nevada 599 (Rancho Drive) and parallels the north side of U.S. 95 (Oran K. Gragson Freeway) east. The 2.21 mile route concludes at Las Vegas Boulevard (former Nevada 604) outside Downtown Las Vegas.
Boulder Highway / Fremont Street
Boulder Highway, the original route of U.S. 93-95-466 connecting Boulder City with Downtown Las Vegas, is largely intact as a state route. Nevada 582 begins at the Wagonwheel Interchange with Interstate 515 & U.S. 93-95 in Henderson. Angling northwest along Boulder Highway to the Las Vegas city line, Nevada 582 becomes Fremont Street through to 8th Street, just southeast of the Fremont Street Experience.
Nevada 589 lines a 10.02 mile section of Sahara Avenue between Nevada 595 (Rainbow Boulevard) and Nevada 612 (nellis Boulevard). The commercial arterial straddles portions of the Las Vegas city line both west and east of the Strip.
Spring Mountain Road
Nevada 591 was a short state route covering Spring Mountain Road through the interchange (Exit 39) with Interstate 15. The 0.559 mile segment was reinventoried as a Frontage Road. Just to the east, Spring Mountain Road intersects Las Vegas Boulevard and Sands Avenue east amid the Wynn Hotel & Casino (NE corner), Palazzo (SE corner), Treasure Island (SW corner) and Fashion Show Mall (NW corner).
Flamingo Road is designated as SR 592 from SR 595 (Rainbow Boulevard) east to Interstate 15 at Exit 38, and from Paradise Road (former SR 605) to SR 582 (Boulder Highway). The four to six lane arterial serves the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV). Crossing the Las Vegas Strip, the locally maintained section of Flamingo Road intersects Las Vegas Boulevard at a busy intersection by the Flamingo (NE corner), Bally’s (SE corner), Bellagio (SW corner), and Caesars Palace (NW corner).
SR 593 lines Tropicana Avenue east from Dean Martin Drive, the west side frontage road for I-15 by Exit 37, to SR 582 (Boulder Highway). Another major east-west arterial, Tropicana Avenue carries as many as four lanes in each direction through the Las Vegas Strip and across Paradise Valley. Nevada 593 is the most direct route from the Strip to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) and McCarran Airport. Elevated pedestrian bridges span both Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard at their busy intersection. Major casino-resorts located here include the MGM Grand (NE corner), Tropicana (SE corner), Excalibur (SW corner), and New York New York (NW corner).
Nevada 594 overlays the divided, six-lane section of Russell Road for 0.723 miles between Polaris Avenue and South Las Vegas Boulevard (former Nevada 604) near the Mandalay Bay resort. Russell Road joins industrial areas of Paradise west of Interstate 15 (Exit 36) with the west side of McCarran International Airport (LAS).
Nevada 595 is a north-south arterial that begins at Tropicana Avenue and travels north to U.S. 95 (Oran K. Gragson Freeway) at the Rainbow Curve interchange with Summerlin Parkway. Along with Tropicana Avenue, Nevada 595 is part of the National Highway System as an alternate route to U.S. 95. Prior to 2003, Nevada 595 continued south to Nevada 160 (Blue Diamond Road).
Nevada 596 is an arterial route following 7.16 miles of Jones Boulevard north from Tropicana Avenue to Smoke Ranch Road within the city of Las Vegas. The state route meets U.S. 95 at Exit 80 and parallels the Oran K. Gragson Freeway 1.1 miles to the east. Jones Boulevard extends north from the state maintained section to Rancho Road (Nevada 599) and south through Spring Valley.
U.S. 95 Business / Rancho Drive
Nevada 599, which doubles as U.S. 95 Business between the two interchanges with U.S. 95, follows Rancho Drive within the city of Las Vegas. The state route starts at Redondo Avenue and the Rancho Bel Air subdivision, 0.311 miles south of the SPUI (Exit 77) with U.S. 95. It formerly extended south to Nevada 589 (Sahara Avenue).
Nevada 601 is the former designation of Main Street through Downtown Las Vegas. The city took over maintenance of the route in 2005. Prior to its relinquishment, Nevada 601 connected with Las Vegas Boulevard (Nevada 604) at either end and was known as U.S. 91 Alternate prior to Interstate 15 replacing U.S. 91 in the early 1970s.
Main Street (former Nevada 601) north at the Fremont Street Experience. A pedestrian signal operates here, linking the Plaza Hotel and Casino and the Fremont Street Experience to the southeast. Photo taken 02/20/10.
Casino Center Boulevard
Nevada 602 comprises just a 0.253 mile route along Casino Center Boulevard from Nevada 579 (Bonanza Road) south at the Las Vegas Downtown Transportation Center to Interstate 515 and Stewart Street. Casino Center Boulevard continues as a city-maintained street from Stewart Avenue south past the Fremont Street Experience.
Casino Center Boulevard passes through the Fremont Street Experience by the Golden Nugget and Binions casinos to the west and the Fremont and Four Queens to the east. Photo taken 02/20/10.
Las Vegas Boulevard
Nevada 604 represents two state maintained portions of Las Vegas Boulevard. A 0.119 mile snippet falls within the intersection with Tropicana Avenue along the Las Vegas Strip. The remainder runs 12.02 miles northeast from Carey Avenue in the city of North Las Vegas to Interstate 15 at Apex (Exit 58).
With the decommissioning of U.S. 91 through the state, Nevada 604 was designated along its route throughout the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The original length of Nevada 604 followed Las Vegas Boulevard southwest through Downtown Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Trip and Paradise through to Nevada 161 in Jean. With a series of relinquishments around the Las Vegas region, Nevada 604 was largely returned to local control in phases between 1998 and 2008, with the rural stretch north from Jean north to Russell Road by McCarran International Airport (LAS) turned over to Clark County in 2006. The state route still extended south to Owens Avenue in North Las Vegas in 2008.
Paradise Road was formerly a part of SR 605 from McCarran International Airport (LAS) north to Sahara Avenue (SR 589) and Las Vegas Boulevard. The state route was eliminated in 2001.
Removed from the state system by January 2008, Nevada 607 lined Eastern Avenue in Las Vegas and Civic Center Drive in North Las Vegas. The state route ran north from Nevada 589 (Sahara Drive) to Nevada 574 (Cheyenne Avenue).
Nevada 610 is Lamb Boulevard leading north from Nevada 604 (Las Vegas Boulevard) and Sunrise Manor to a SPUI (Exit 50) with Interstate 15 in the city of North Las Vegas.
Nevada 612 overlays Nellis Boulevard north from Nevada 593 (Tropicana Avenue) at east Paradise Valley to Sunrise Manor and Nevada 604 (Las Vegas Boulevard) by Nellis Air Force Base.
Las Vegas Area Highway and Street Scenes
Desert Inn Road Superarterial
The Desert Inn Road Superarterial constitutes a controlled access road east across Interstate 15 to Channel 8 Drive and from Paradise Road below the Las Vegas Convention Center to Swenson Street. The six lane road provides a quick way to traverse the Las Vegas Strip, as it dips below Las Vegas Boulevard without a traffic light. Constructed by Clark County in 1994, the arterial was designed with minimal traffic delays and signal wait time, using traffic signal interconnection technology and grade separations.
Desert Inn Road drops below grade through the Las Vegas Convention Center. There are no traffic signals or intersections between Paradise Road and Swenson Street. Photos taken 03/30/08.
Summerlin Parkway is a 6.3 mile long commuter freeway extending west from U.S. 95 (Oran K. Gragson Freeway) at the Rainbow Curve to the master planned community of Summerlin. The freeway ends at a parclo interchange with Clark County 215 (Bruce Woodbury Beltway), with a stub built for future expansion of Summerlin west. The freeway is unnumbered and was constructed by the developer of Summerlin.
- “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.” Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV), August 8, 2000.
- “STATE VS. LOCAL: Entities to take back streets – Officials seek to turn state routes into city streets.” Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV), January 12, 2001.
- “Southbound I-11 Lanes Opening in Henderson.” KXNT (Las Vegas, NV), August 9, 2017.
- “New segment of northbound Interstate 11 set to open.” Las Vegas Sun, January 24, 2018.
Page Updated February 16, 2018.