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Interstate 215 (Nevada)

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Interstate 215 (Nevada)

Las Vegas Beltway
Bruce Woodbury Beltway
;">Route information
Maintained by Nevada DOT and Clark Co. Public Works
Length:
Existed: 1996 – present
;">Major junctions
South end: I-515 / US 93 / US 95 / SR 564 in Henderson
  I-15 in Enterprise
Summerlin Pkwy in Las Vegas
US 95 in Las Vegas
North end: I-15 / US 93 in North Las Vegas
Length:
Length:
Length:
Length:
;">
;">Highway system

Nevada State Routes

The Las Vegas Beltway (officially named the Bruce Woodbury Beltway) is the name of the 50.5-mile (81.3 km) beltway route circling three-quarters of the Las Vegas Valley in southern Nevada. The Las Vegas Beltway carries two numerical designations. Approximately 11.3 miles (18.2 km) of the highway, from its southern terminus at Interstate 515/U.S. Route 93/U.S. Route 95 in Henderson west and northwest to Interstate 15, is signed as Interstate 215 (I-215); however, only two distinct portions of this section (at either end) totaling a little over 4.6 miles (7.4 km) are legally designated as I-215, with the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) providing maintenance.[1] Clark County Route 215 (CC 215) composes the remaining 39.2 miles (63.1 km) of this semi-circumferral highway (plus the 6.7-mile (10.8 km) middle section of the aforementioned southeast leg signed as I-215), with the county's Department of Public Works responsible for all construction and maintenance.

The Las Vegas Beltway currently consists of two different road types: freeway and an interim expressway. The beltway is currently a freeway from the I-515 interchange in Henderson to just north of Cheyenne Avenue in western Las Vegas. The remainder of the beltway is primarily expressway, with several sections currently being upgraded to Interstate freeway standards.

Construction of the Beltway was initially planned and constructed by Clark County. This marked the first time in the United States that a county has overseen the construction of an Interstate highway with little to no state or federal funding. Once completely upgraded to freeway, it is anticipated that the CC 215 portion of the beltway will be designated I-215 and the entire facility turned over to the Nevada Department of Transportation for maintenance (currently, NDOT only maintains the beltway from I-515 to Stephanie Street and Warm Springs Road to I-15).

The part of the beltway designated as CC-215 has the destinction of being not only the only signed county road in Clark County, but also of being the only county road in the nation that is a freeway.

Route description


The Las Vegas Beltway begins in Henderson, at the I-515/US 93/US 95 interchange, where traffic on westbound State Route 564 (Lake Mead Parkway) defaults onto I-215 west. From here, the beltway primarily follows the former Lake Mead Drive alignment west to the Pecos Road/Saint Rose Parkway (SR 146) interchange. The highway then curves northwest towards McCarran International Airport before turning west to cross under Las Vegas Boulevard and I-15.

As the beltway passes under I-15, it changes from Interstate to county highway still maintaining freeway status as it heads nearly due west. Passing Decatur Boulevard, two one-way frontage roads (which formerly carried the initial beltway facilities) appear on either side of the highway. At Durango Drive, the roadway curves northward. The frontage roads end at as the highway reaches Tropicana Avenue, but the freeway continues briefly west and then north again to intersect Charleston Boulevard (SR 159) near Red Rock Canyon. As it passes north through the community of Summerlin (part of the city of Las Vegas), it meets the Summerlin Parkway freeway at a recently upgraded system interchange.

The beltway downgrades from freeway to an expressway (with some grade separations) after it passes the Cheyenne Avenue/Cliff Shadows Parkway interchange. From here, the road continues north along the western foothills of Las Vegas to pass behind Lone Mountain. Soon afterward, the highway curves east and intersects US 95 at a yet to be upgraded partial interchange. From there the beltway continues nearly due east along the alignment of Centennial Parkway before entering northern North Las Vegas at Decatur Boulevard. From there it swings northeast, passing by the large Aliante development before turning east again. Much of the final few miles of the route from here on are in undeveloped land, except near the interchange at 5th Street, with intersections existing primarily as turnarounds, until the beltway swings southeast just past Lamb Boulevard and reaches its ending terminus at I-15 just west of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

History

AASHTO approved the I-215 designation for approximately 18.9 miles (30.4 km) of (then unbuilt) highway, from Tropicana Avenue to US 95 (I-515) on April 17, 1993.[2] As eventually built, this specific portion of the beltway is 19.59 miles (31.53 km) in length.


Much of the beltway was built completely with local funds, and expressway to freeway upgrades have continued to be built without state or federal money (except for the I-515 interchange upgrade). A tax measure voted on by the County residents increased funding for the beltway. As a result, it was expected to be fully upgraded to a freeway by 2013, rather than the previous goal of 2025. However, at present it appears that this target date will slip back at least a few years.

The first section of I-215 opened to traffic in 1996 from I-15 to Warm Springs Road, including the Airport Connector and tunnel, which linked McCarran International Airport to southern metro Las Vegas without requiring motorists to use Tropicana Avenue or Russell Road to access the main passenger terminal. The southeast leg of the beltway (except for the I-515 connection) was completed ahead of schedule in 1999, while the northern end was extended from Decatur Boulevard in 1998 to Tropicana Avenue by 2000. The remaining sections in the western and northern legs of the beltway were completed by 2003 – either in their final, full freeway mode or in one of two lesser interim configurations.

I-215 was built on the State Route 146 alignment between a point just east of Exit 6 (Saint Rose Parkway/Pecos Road) and Mile 0 (the Interstate 515/U.S. Route 93/U.S. Route 95 interchange at Lake Mead Parkway, formerly known as Lake Mead Drive). Since the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) does not co-sign state routes along Interstate highways, SR 146 was truncated to its current eastern terminus at I-215. SR 146 was co-signed with I-215 from Pecos Road to I-515/US 93/US 95, even though the state highway designation no longer existed in this section when the freeway was completed. Some SR 146 signs were still remaining on I-215 as late as July 27, 2008.

In 2003, the entire 50.5-mile (81.3 km) long beltway was opened, albeit with three different road types – freeway, limited access expressway, and as interim frontage roads – with all the newly-opened sections being designated as County Route 215. On August 9, 2006 a section of freeway was completed that allowed the connection of two previously built freeway portions. This meant a continuous stretch of road consisting of about half the road's overall mileage, from the I-515/SR 564 terminus to Charleston Boulevard, was now completed to freeway standards.

Roads & Bridges magazine, a national publication that provides technology news and information to the transportation construction industry, named the Las Vegas Beltway as one of the nation's Top Ten Road Projects in 2002.

At the Board of County Commission meeting on March 2, 2004, the beltway was renamed as the Bruce Woodbury Beltway.[3] The Board approved a resolution recognizing Commissioner Woodbury for his many years and efforts in the future of transportation in the valley.

Recent and future improvements

Construction of the North 5th Street Interchange was completed and fully opened to traffic in September 2011. The project's scope included roadway, bridge, drainage and utility improvements along the northern beltway at the intersection of North 5th Street in North Las Vegas. Beginning in 2012, construction by the Clark County Department of Public Works will include the build-out of another northern beltway segment between Tenaya Way and Decatur Boulevard. The project, which should take about two years to complete, will widen CC 215 to four-lanes, build two new highway interchanges at Jones and Decatur boulevards and a new bridge to carry Bradley Road over the freeway. Improvements to the beltway are also underway in the southern region of the valley with a plan to upgrade I-215 between I-15 and Windmill Lane. This project will provide one additional travel lane in each direction, auxiliary lanes between interchanges and include the widening of four bridges over I-215 at Paradise, Warm Springs, and Robindale roads as well as for the Airport Connector.[4]

Exit list

References

External links

  • Bruce Woodbury Beltway page at Clark County website
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