BARSTOW – An 18-mile traffic jam from Las Vegas to California, over the New Year’s weekend, prompted Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman to push California to complete the I-15 widening project.
Goodman took to Twitter, on January 3, urging Caltrans and US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to ‘step up.’
“Once again, we had travelers spending hours and hours of their time trying to get home on Interstate 15,” Goodman said. “California must step up and complete widening of I-15 between stateline and Barstow. The drive times remain intolerable.”
Once again we had travelers spending hours and hours of their time trying to get home on Interstate 15. California must step up and complete widening of I-15 between stateline and Barstow. The drive times remain intolerable. @CaltransHQ, @SecretaryPete @MitchLandrieu46
— Carolyn G. Goodman (@mayoroflasvegas) January 3, 2023
Goodman is referring to the estimated $12 million I-15 widening project that expands the highway to three lanes. This five-mile stretch is between the stateline and CDFA Agricultural Station – where the majority of congestion occurs.
The project had an anticipated summer 2022 completion date.
Caltrans completed the first phase so far – a 1 mile restriping project allowing for a third lane to be open from the Nevada-California border at all times.
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A spokesperson from Caltrans says the timeframe for the entire project completion is “still being determined.”
Over the next five years, the federal government is providing $343 billion to states for highways through the infrastructure law enacted last year.
Buttigieg has stated that sometimes widening is necessary, but other options for addressing traffic should be considered.
“Connecting people more efficiently and affordably to where they need to go is a lot more complicated than just always having more concrete and asphalt out there,” said Buttigieg.
Brightline, an $8 billion high speed rail project connecting Southern California to Las Vegas, estimates that the rail line would eliminate 32 million vehicle miles traveled on the corridor in 2025 – its first year of operation.
Construction for the project is expected to begin this year.