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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg kicked off a construction project in Nevada that will upgrade an aging Interstate 15 interchange to improve travel for truckers and all drivers accessing the Las Vegas Strip.
Buttigieg gathered with several state leaders inside Allegiant Stadium overlooking I-15 on May 31 to celebrate the launch of a construction project that Gov. Steve Sisolak described as having been “decades in the making.”
The existing I-15 interchange at Tropicana Avenue consists of two-lane exit ramps originally built in 1966 both northbound and southbound as the main interstate connections to McCarran International Airport.
We're in Las Vegas today to celebrate major improvements for the I-15 / Tropicana Interchange.— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) May 31, 2022
Nearly $1 billion in federal infrastructure funds is going to Nevada, Buttigieg said, noting that the interchange project will replace a bridge, improve access ramps, double sidewalk widths for pedestrians and add advanced traffic safety features to reduce crashes while dramatically improve traffic flows into and out of the Strip.
“Modernizing the intersection is going to help more people get where they need to go more safely, more efficiently and more reliably,” he said. “People are going to get something else back. People are going to get time back in their day. The only thing that we have at the end of the day is time spent with loved ones, time to think about what matters instead of being stuck in traffic.”
Rep. Susie Lee city noted that $25 million is being invested in the interchange bridge as Nevada recovers from being “on the frontline of potential economic devastation” during the COVID-19 pandemic due to its heavy dependence on tourism.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto mentioned that she was among state leaders who helped secure $50 million to redesign the interchange.
“It’s needed an upgrade in safety and efficiency for a long time,” she remarked. “We cannot continue to lead as a world-class travel destination if we do not invest in our world-class transportation networks right here in our state. We know that the transportations solutions we’re implementing will strengthen our key industries in Las Vegas and make it possible for visitors and residents alike to get the most out of our city.”
Besides improving transportation, the I-15 Tropicana Project will benefit the region by creating opportunities for over 4,500 union jobs during the project’s duration, noted Rep. Steven Horsford. Construction will begin this year and finish in 2024.
“By starting this project today, we’re taking an important step forward to be sure our economy can continue to thrive,” said U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen. “It’s going to help us manage traffic better. It’s going to make our roads safer for cars, trucks, pedestrians.”
Rosen noted that federal infrastructure funds will help transform the state while affirming her actions in government to make improvements.
“I am laser-focused on making sure Nevada continues to grow as the entertainment and sports capital of the world. We have to do everything we can to continue our recovery from COVID and restore our travel and tourism industry to its full potential,” she declared.
Nevada Trucking Association CEO Paul Enos applauded the start of construction.
“That’s a very popular bridge,” he said. “Everybody uses that bridge when you think about I-15, which is the economic artery for the state of Nevada.”
With 70% of the state’s population living in the southern section, Enos noted that “I-15 is what brings in all of the freight and a huge amount of tourists, especially from Southern California. Any improvements we can make on I-15 will absolutely have an impact on the trucking industry and our ability to serve the economy of the state of Nevada.”
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