Funding massive road projects is a crucial element in ensuring they bear fruit.
Most major projects are funded by a mix of state, local, and federal dollars. The more federal money that is awarded, the better.
In the case of the proposed rebuild of the Henderson Interchange, where the US Highway 95/215 Beltway meets, the Nevada Department of Transportation missed out on a federal grant that would have funded up to a third of the planned cost.
The U.S. Department of Transportation declined submission of NDOTs to the Mega Grant Program. The program, fueled by the bipartisan infrastructure bill signed in 2020, has $5 billion available for qualifying projects.
NDOT’s $111 million request was not recommended because the Federal Department of Transportation did not consider the project cost-effective.
Despite being a large part of the $335 million project, construction is continuing.
“The grant mentioned should not alter NDOT’s plans to fund this project,” said NDOT spokesperson Justin Hopkins. “We planned to do the project without the grant.”
The major project is now to be financed from state gas tax funds.
The scope of the project includes Galleria Drive to Horizon Drive on US 95 and Valle Verde Drive to Van Wagenen Street on 215/Lake Mead Parkway.
Also known to motorists as the Henderson Spaghetti Bowl, the interchange opened to traffic in 2006.
When the transportation hub was completed 17 years ago, about 1.5 million people lived in the Las Vegas Valley. Today the valley is home to over 2.3 million inhabitants.
Based on the 2020 average, 191,000 vehicles pass through the interchange every day. According to NDOT, that number is expected to increase by 51 percent to 289,000 by 2040.
The exchange project will be a design-build option, allowing work to begin before the project is fully designed. When the design is about 70 percent, work can begin.
The redesign of the busy motorway junction aims to take into account the increasing volume of traffic and the safety of the current road. The new design is being developed to reduce accidents and the associated travel congestion.
A crossover swap is being considered for the project, which would be a rarity as there are only two other versions of such a project in the US, according to the NDOT.
Access to Gibson Road and Auto Show Drive from US 95 will be restored with the project. Access to these roads was eliminated during a 2019 re-striping project.
Motorists can expect work to begin next year and continue through 2026, though the project’s cost and schedule are subject to change as the final design comes together.
“We anticipate final design in 2024 and construction to begin later this year,” Hopkins said. “Further refinement of the design will provide more accurate cost and schedule estimates.”
Contact Mick Akers at [email protected] or 702-387-2920. consequences @Mickaker on twitter. Send questions and comments to [email protected]