LAS VEGAS - It's a wrap. In 2013, the Nevada Department of Transportation met milestones, initiated new projects initiated and addressed challenges, all while maintaining the department's core focus on running an efficient and safe state transportation system. NDOT widened highways, repaired roads, installed high-tech systems to manage traffic, cleaned freeways, held public information meetings on a variety of projects, strengthened relationships with the business community and other stakeholders, continued to support statewide, multijurisdictional and multi-agency efforts to promote safety and much, much more. Here's a brief look at some of NDOT's highlights for Southern Nevada.
Project NEON P3
In July, the seven-member State Transportation Board unanimously approved advancing Project NEON as a public-private partnership (P3) arrangement under which a private developer will be selected to design, build, finance, operate and maintain (DBFOM) an improved Interstate 15 facility to reduce congestion and improve safety from the Spaghetti Bowl to Sahara Avenue. That 3.7-mile stretch is the state's busiest section of highway and serves as a vital corridor for commerce and economic development. Use of a P3 is historical for NDOT and Nevada as it will allow several phases of NEON to be completed more quickly and efficiently, with the least amount of interruption to motorists. The P3 arrangement will dramatically reduce project delivery timelines and free up resources for other statewide projects.
Interstate 11 Study
Also in July, NDOT and the Arizona Department of Transportation reached the mid-point of a two-year study examining the possibility of a new interstate corridor linking Las Vegas and Phoenix. NDOT, ADOT and stakeholder partners completed the Draft Corridor Justification Report, which explored potential routes from Mexico to northern Nevada. Those alternatives underwent evaluation and screening and the public got the chance to weigh in. More intense screening of alternatives, along with recommendations from the study team as well as stakeholder and public meetings are slated for the spring, with the study expected to conclude by summer 2014. I-11 could become a transcontinental corridor allowing significant commerce, tourism and international trade opportunities across the Western United States.
Boulder City Bypass (Phase 1)
Work began over the summer on Phase 1 of the Boulder City Bypass, a roughly three-mile stretch that awill extend from I-515 at Foothills Drive to U.S. 95. Phase 1 work includes tortoise fencing and plant salvaging, right-of-way seetting, utility relocations, construction of a frontage road, building a realigned U.S. 93/ U.S. 95 mainline to the intersection with the frontage road and a new interchange at Railroad Pass. The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Neavda is responsible for Phase 2, which is 12 miles long and will extend from U.S. 95 to the Interchange at State Route 172 (the road to Hoover Dam). That project will include the design and construction of a four lane access controlled freeway with a new interchange at U.S. 95 and a reconfigured interchange at the U.S. 93/SR 172 Hoover Dam Exit.
F Street Connection
Construction began in May on the F Street Connection Project, an NDOT-City of Las Vegas project to reopen F Street in its former location under Interstate 15. The corridor will connect to downtown. Other advantages include increased walkability in the area (which includes the historic Pioneer Trail) and opportunities for bike and mass transit routes. In addition to accommodating pedestrian, bike and vehicular traffic, the project includes a resurfacing of F Street, new sidewalks, curbs and gutter installations, decorative lighting and attractive landscaping north to Washington Avenue, along with a series of community-approved corridor panels celebrating the area known as historic West Las Vegas.
I-15/Cactus Avenue Interchange
Construction began on April 1 on the I-15 Cactus Interchange, which is designed reduce congestion on I-15 in the rapidly growing sectors of the Las Vegas Valley and provide a connection for regional traffic for motorists traveling within Clark County, the city of Las Vegas and the city of Henderson. Other improvements will include the construction of Cactus Avenue between Dean Martin Drive and Las Vegas Boulevard, improvements to Cactus Avenue between Polaris Avenue and Dean Martin Drive, traffic signals at the intersections of Las Vegas Boulevard/Cactus Avenue and Dean Martin Drive/Cactus Avenue and improvements to drainage and flood control areas and aesthetics.
U.S. 95 Widening (Ann to Durango)
NDOT, in partnership with the City of Las Vegas and in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), held a public information meeting in July on Phase 2A of the U.S. 95 Northwest Corridor Improvements Project. This freeway project addresses the short- and long-term transportation needs for a portion of the U.S. 95 corridor from Ann Road to Durango Drive, which is scheduled for construction starting in 2014. Improvements include widening U.S. 95 to three general purpose lanes and one HOV lane and auxiliary lanes in each direction. The project will also feature construction of landscape and aesthetic enhancements, as well as sound walls in noise-sensitive areas.
NDOT's Civil Rights and Contract Compliance Division commissioned of a new disparity study. Building on the 2007 study, the new study will focus on the business climate for minority and women-owned firms in the Nevada highway construction industry. The results will help NDOT determine appropriate race-conscious goals for 2014-16, with the goal of helping small, minority or woman-owned or disadvantaged businesses compete alongside larger firms.
NDOT also embarked on a new program designed to increase the participation of small businesses. On Friday, July 26, NDOT officials presented "How to do Business with the Nevada Department of Transportation." Attendees learned about program requirements, participating in the informal bidding program (contracts less than $250,000) and about new legislation that extends certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) participation goals to state-funded projects. In July, NDOT held public meetings outlining its Small Business Enterprise program on state-funded projects. While not required, NDOT will set a SBE program goal requiring prime contractors to identify elements of the contract or specific subcontracts that are of a size that small businesses, including DBEs, can reasonably perform. NDOT will monitor the effectiveness of the program goal to ensure that it is effective in fostering increased small business participation.
NDOT participated in Multi-Jurisdictional and Organizational Partnership initiative to promote safety messages in 2013. The first project focused on improving safety for bicyclists by raising awareness of Nevada's 3-foot law. The partnership featured a public service announcement, social media outreach, a press conference and subsequent bike ride in downtown and more. The partnership included representatives from the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, the Cities of Henderson and Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, UNLV's Safe Community Partnership and the nonprofit Look Out Kids About.
The second project, held in October, focused on improving pedestrian safety and featured, among other things, a Pedestrian Safety Awareness social media PSA contest. The contest was part of a month-long effort that included a press conference and support from local public officials from the surrounding cities in the Greater Las Vegas valley, Clark County, local law enforcement and community partners. Supporters included Commissioner Larry Brown, State Sen. Mark Manendo, City of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, City of North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, City of Henderson Councilwoman Debra March, Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager, Las Vegas police and citizens.
Flooding (Northwest Las Vegas, Mt. Charleston)
On Aug. 25, torrential rain hi the Valley, washing out city streets, sections of U.S.95 and State Route 157 (Kyle Canyon Road). Large parts of Kyle Canyon's road surface actually got washed away by the raging waters, while another section saw its supports destroyed. NDOT crews some of the pavement and filled in damaged sections with aggregate. Sixteen crew members from seven different crews worked 10-hour shifts for four days to repair all the damage, helping to reopen the road to the public. The following crews received recognition: Mt. Charleston, Crew 129; Glendale, Crew 124; Alamo, Crew 122; Landscape Maintenance, Crew 145 and Las Vegas Maintenance, Crews 153, 151 and 158.
Carpenter 1 Fire (Mt. Charleston)
On Sept. 17, NDOT was recognized by Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown and the County Commission for its role in assisting firefighters and supporting agencies in responding to the Carpenter 1 fire.
Established in 1917, the Nevada Department of Transportation is responsible for the planning, construction, operation and maintenance of 5,400 miles of highway and more than 1,000 bridges comprising the state highway system. NDOT's mission is to provide a better transportation system for Nevada through unified and dedicated efforts. The department is divided into three districts. The districts are responsible for supervising all state transportation activities within their local areas. NDOT's headquarters is located in Carson City; district offices are in Las Vegas, Reno and Elko. NDOT is overseen by a seven-member directors' board and run by senior staff. Visit NDOT's Website for more information.