LAS VEGAS, NEV. – The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) last week awarded a $38.8 million construction contract to Las Vegas Paving Corp. to rehabilitate the aging Interstate 515 (U.S. Highway 95) viaduct from Interstate 15 to Eastern Avenue in downtown Las Vegas. (A viaduct is a long bridge-like structure carrying an elevated roadway. It’s not to be confused with an aqueduct that conveys water).
“The project will extend the near-term service life of the viaduct, portions of which were built almost 60 years ago,” said NDOT spokesman Tony Illia. “However, plans are underway for replacing the viaduct as part of the future Downtown Access Project, which is currently in the early environmental planning stages.”
Meanwhile, the current project will repair and overlay the entire 1.2 million square foot viaduct deck surface between the Union Pacific Railroad and 21st Street – the equivalent of 25 football fields – as well as reconstruct the Casino Center Boulevard off-ramp hinge while seismically retrofitting selected viaduct columns. Meanwhile, a new southbound auxiliary lane will be added between Interstate 15 and Eastern Avenue by lane restriping, and the Eastern Avenue southbound offramp will be widened to two lanes.
Other improvements entail reconstructing the aging Eastern Avenue and Desert Inn Road bridges, which have developed fatigue cracks in the structural steel box girders. The project will use 614,000 pounds of total steel or enough iron to forge 20 cruise ship anchors and place enough polymer concrete aggregate and resin to fill 28 average-sized swimming pools.
Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in mid-April with the contractor working six days a week, Monday through Saturday. The stretch of impacted interstate averages 183,000 vehicles daily, pre-pandemic, with heavy trucks only accounting for 1.2 percent of total traffic. As a result, the 370-working-day project contract carries up to $1.38 million in early completion incentives; conversely, penalties of $16,250 per day will be assessed for late completion. The state and federally funded project, anticipated to finish by mid-2022, will create 500 direct, indirect, and induced local jobs.