California Construction News staff writer
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman sent a message to Caltrans on Twitter last week, urging action on the Interstate 15 widening project.
“Once again, we had travelers spending hours and hours of their time trying to get home on Interstate 15,” Goodman wrote. “California must step up and complete widening of I-15 between state line and Barstow. The drive times remain intolerable.”
The mayor was reacting to travelers on Interstate 15 headed back to Southern California after the New Year holiday, some experiencing a nearly 18-mile backup on te roadway
An 18-mile, bumper-to-bumper traffic jam happened Monday afternoon, according to the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. The situation on Thanksgiving weekend 2021 was a 19-mile backup.
With Interstate 15 at their backs, California Governor Gavin Newsom and then-Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak today announced the temporary expansion of the highway in a five-mile stretch between the state line and Barstow to ease traffic congestion during peak hours.
This stretch of highway between the Nevada border and the California Department of Food and Agriculture Agricultural Station is federally recognized as an economic lifeline corridor due to its role in the supply chain, and for connecting the economic and tourism hubs of Southern California and Las Vegas.
“This five-mile stretch of highway is a critical piece of infrastructure for not only our two states, but for the whole country. However, the hours of traffic deters tourism and goods movement,” said Governor Newsom. “While this is just a temporary solution, the expansion is crucial for continued economic health and resilience in the region and beyond.
“I thank Governor Sisolak for his continued focus and partnership on this and other shared priorities for Californians and Nevadans.”
“We’re actually in the process right now of moving dollars to begin immediate relief by taking the shoulder, for the next five miles, well five miles south, and we’ll be repaving, restriping, and using that shoulder as a third lane during peak hours,” Newsom said in a Dec. 2021 statement.
California also planned to add a 5-mile temporary lane from the state line, which would open during peak congestion times.
In early November 2022, Nevada’s phase one project was reportedly completed, which included opening a third lane as Nevada motorists traveled south across the state line into California.
California also completed its first phase of widening by converting a 1-mile stretch of the I-15 south shoulder into a temporary third lane.