Las Vegas Residents Push Back on Freeway Expansion

A state plan to widen an interstate that cuts through downtown Las Vegas would displace hundreds of homes and businesses.

2 minute read

September 7, 2023, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of freeway interchange in downtown Las Vegas

US-95 and I-15 interchange in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. | trekandphoto / Adobe Stock

Las Vegas residents are questioning a proposal by the Nevada Department of Transportation to widen Interstate 515, also known as US-95, in downtown Las Vegas, writes April Corbin Girnus in Nevada Current.

NDOT says a massive increase in traffic volumes since the freeway was built in 1968, along with aging infrastructure and outdated design, are causing congestion and “creating potentially dangerous driving conditions.”

“But at least three dozen downtown households are expected to be displaced as part of the project, which would take several years and billions of dollars to complete. Upwards of 350 households potentially could be displaced, depending on which design the agency decides to pursue.” Local residents say the widening would primarily benefit suburban commuters at the expense of air quality in the city’s core.

NDOT has offered up eight possible alternatives for the project, including a ‘no-build’ option that would leave the roadway unchanged but call for safety improvements. The article notes that “None of the plans include walking and bike trails adjacent to the freeway, which is something NDOT proposed in its original designs but axed after hearing concerns about such areas attracting homeless people.” 

However, “As part of its project mitigation plan, NDOT has proposed committing $20 million for ‘Complete Streets’ projects, $15 million to replace on a 1-to-1 ratio any household units it razes as part of right-of-way acquisition, $10 million for ‘resources for the unhoused community,’ and $10 million for an indoor recreation area to replace the existing ones it would tear down.”

Tuesday, September 5, 2023 in Nevada Current

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