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May 8, 2018 4:15 PM, EDT
Project Neon? There’s an App for That
Construction near Vegas Strip Project Neon near the Las Vegas Strip is projected to reduce traffic congestion by 30% when completed in 2019. (Eugene Mulero/Transport Topics)

LAS VEGAS — For those enjoying the Strip, smartphones can connect them instantly with hotels, restaurants, airlines and more, putting at their fingertips a pair of mezzanine seats for Cirque du Soleil after 5:30 p.m. reservations for Rao’s at Caesars Palace.

And likewise, infrastructure.

Just as simply, everyone from freight executives to daily commuters to tourists can learn about road closures related to the construction progress of Project Neon, the state’s largest public works project at nearly $1 billion.

Jay Proskovec

Proskovec demonstrates VR glasses. (Eugene Mulero/Transport Topics)

The project is scheduled to debut in summer 2019. According to the Nevada Department of Transportation, traffic congestion for trucks and cars along the Strip’s periphery is projected to be reduced by 30%. The interstate is among the region’s top freight corridors.

A raft of social media sheds light on which roads to avoid while construction crews finalize the widening of Interstate 15 at the U.S. 95 interchange called the “Spaghetti Bowl,” put together by public information officers with NDOT and its private sector partners. There’s a smartphone app, a website, and Twitter and Facebook feeds.

A hotline also was set up, and the public may sign up for weekly emails. The information team coordinates with the Waze navigation app, as well, to update them on the latest details about the traffic downtown. Residents may swing by the project’s headquarters downtown to grab brochures, and even experience a virtual reality demonstration of the project’s completion.

Infrastructure Week

Our reporters kicked off the week with a look at how some new ideas are playing out in Nevada.

“I don’t know that any of those things has stood out as opposed to another, but altogether as an aggregate, it’s really made a considerable impact,” NDOT spokesman Tony Illia told Transport Topics on May 1.

The information campaign is aimed at ensuring residents are not left in the dark about massive construction that in recent months has resulted in detours and road closures blocks away from the heart of “Sin City.”

“Today’s multimedia environment is more fragmented than it’s ever been. So, there’s no silver bullet like there was necessarily in the past where you can just [get] an article in the paper, be on the 6 o’clock news. You were done,” Illia said. “So we’re sort of providing information on a lot of different platforms.”

Project Neon’s encompassing media modus operandi, thus far, appears to be reaching its audience, said Jay Proskovec, a public information officer with Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. His firm is a partner on the project.

Project Neon construction worker

A worker with Kiewit removes rubble at the Bonanza Road yard (Eugene Mulero/Transport Topics)

Since construction kicked off nearly two years ago, there has been a “lack of negative feedback from the traveling public,” Proskovec told TT. “People don’t have really an excuse to say, ‘I didn’t know.’ ”

Paul Moradkhan, vice president of government affairs with the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, agreed.

“I think the state has done a good job advertising that I-15 was coming,” he noted. “I think most people in the community know that Project Neon is underway.”