ST. GEORGE — The good news continues to roll in from the Nevada Department of Transportation about road and utility construction on Interstate 15.
“The last of the hard barriers on the northbound side will be removed by the end of tomorrow, allowing both lanes to be accessible,” NDOT Public Information Officer Justin Hopkins said during a Thursday morning meeting.
The stretch of road in question is at mile marker 112 by the Bunkerville exit south to mile marker 95, which is two miles away from the Logandale/Overton exit.
NDOT held an official meeting on the I-15 construction project Thursday morning, discussing the current status. Last week, NDOT announced the removal of hard rail barriers from southbound lanes going up to the top of Mormon Mesa, thus freeing up two lanes.
This was the first time in almost eight months the southbound lanes south of Mesquite had both lanes opened. However, the northbound lanes remained closed to one barrier while a dug-out trench remained visible in preparation for the installation of fiber optic cable.
Removing the hard rail barriers on the northbound lanes will make all four lanes accessible on the interstate. This will be the first time all four lanes in the southbound and northbound will be open for travel since the project began.
As reported by Hopkins, the last part of the project is the milling and paving of the roads on both sides of the interstate within 22 miles, specifically from mile marker 95 to mile marker 117. Orange construction cones and barriers will be deployed instead of ard rail barriers.
“Starting each Friday at 9 a.m. after tomorrow, the weekends will have all lanes open for travel,” Hopkins said.
The milling and paving of the roads will be completed in two-mile increments Mondays-Thursdays. The milling of the road is the removal of the top layer of asphalt to a specific depth without disturbing the lower layer. The paving will involve a new replacement and smoothing of a fresh top layer of asphalt.
The milling process will be done 4 a.m.-2 p.m. during specified days . The paving will be done overnight when there is less traffic.
Hopkins reported that 62% of the working days were completed, and he verified the project was a little behind from what was originally scheduled at the beginning of August. However, he reported they were not far behind, and the project should be completed in early 2023.
“I am very optimistic that it will not be impactful like it has been the last two months,” Hopkins said.
The purposes for the northbound lanes and southbound lanes varied greatly between the two sides. The northbound lanes involved an ITS fiber optic cable to be laid and buried, which would connect Mesquite with Las Vegas and the rest of the NDOT system, allowing for traffic cameras, electric signage and more. Meanwhile, the southbound work was to repair damage from erosion, wear and weather, mainly water runoff from the mesa.
The construction projects have seen multiple vehicular accidents involving both injuries and deaths. The aftereffects of the vehicular accidents and the construction have seen traffic congestion and delays, resulting in four-six hours on average in certain incidents to travel from St. George to Las Vegas or vice-versa.
With one specific vehicular accident in May, the southbound lanes were closed for up to eight hours due to a fatality.
The long wait is due to the process involving a fatality at a vehicular crash site. The Clark County Coroner’s office within Las Vegas is contac
ted and informed of the fatality. A coroner investigator must report to the scene and perform an investigation before the scene can be released and opened for the public to travel through.
Depending on schedule and concurrent incidents needing investigation, the coroner investigator will arrive when they can to “clear” the scene, sometimes hours after the fatality occurred.
Hopkins still reminded people to be patient and drive according to signs and laws posted in construction work areas. There will be one lane at a time open still during the milling and paving hours but only within two miles at a time. Zipper merging is still best for those times and areas.
“But the best part is the weekends will have all four lanes open with no work being done,” Hopkins said.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.