Construction Site Safety During I-15/215 Interchange Improvements
Earlier this month, the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) awarded a $99 million contract to improve a North Las Vegas interchange. The project will complete an I-15/215 Beltway system-to-system interchange configuration. The North Las Vegas interchange will be an active construction zone for the next couple of years. Las Vegas drivers will need to be wary of construction site safety when traveling through this area until the project is complete.
The project is spearheaded by Fisher Sand & Gravel and is 95% federally funded. This interchange upgrade is great news for commuters who need to drive around the city and for businesses who will benefit from increased access. This will also be good for new residents who will be moving into the latest housing development along the 215 corridor.
Although an overall goal of this project is to increase public safety, construction zones can be dangerous, especially for drivers. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, drivers are the most frequent fatalities in work zone crashes.
Whether you are a North Las Vegas resident, a daily commuter, or know you will be visiting the area, you should know what’s happening. Here’s what to expect and what to avoid when out on these roads and some construction safety tips.
Overview of the I-15/215 project
The main focus of the project is to improve public safety, traffic, and mobility. Fisher Sand & Gravel plans to build ramps, flyovers and street connections at the I-15 and 215 Beltway in North Las Vegas.
The project is large in scope, the job site covers an area of two miles. The project isn’t expected to be completed until late 2022. Here are some key numbers to give an idea of the size of the construction project:
- 2 massive cast-in-place concrete dual lane flyovers
- 51-foot tall, 1,800-foot long east-to-north connection (equivalent of five football fields)
- 128,966 cubic yards excavation
- Painting 77,687 square yards
- 49,675 cubic yards of rock mulch
- 48 decorative boulders
- 32 plants
- 3,648 tons of decorative rock
- 7 million pounds of reinforcing steel
- 7,815 lineal feet of concrete pipe
- 115,657 tons of aggregate road base
- 2,918 lineal feet of concrete paving
- 74,549 tons of asphalt paving
- 38,877 lineal feet of concrete barrier rail
- New I-15 southbound on and off ramps at Tropical Parkway
- Widening over a half-mile of Beltway from four to six travel lanes
- New signage
- Extending Tropical Parkway to Centennial Parkway
- New lighting
- Replacing Range Road as an east-west surface connection
- A new eastbound 215 Beltway off-ramp to the new Centennial Parkway and Range Road intersection
- New landscaping by Lage Design
How the project will impact North Las Vegas
The I-15/215 interchange currently averages about 34,000 vehicles a day. Future traffic counts are expected to grow by 72 percent over the next two decades.
The completed project will improve access to the VA Hospital, which serves about 10,000 people per month. The completed interchange will also impact Las Vegas’s 1,100-acre industrial park near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Since this is a pretty major project, North Las Vegas drivers should expect delays in and around this area. Fortunately, NDOT is working with the GPS navigation software app company Waze to inform the public about planned highway restrictions. However, unscheduled construction changes are possible. Closures and restrictions might occur due to weather or other factors, as well.
Nevada Department of Transportation recommends these tips while navigating the construction zone:
- Use caution while traveling through a work zone
- Heed construction signage
- Take alternate detour routes, if possible
- Stay up to date on the latest state highway conditions, visit nvroads.com or call 511 before driving
Even if you are practicing the utmost caution in Las Vegas construction zones, others can be responsible for your accident. If you’ve been the victim in a construction zone accident in the Las Vegas area, call Anthem Injury Lawyers at (702) 857-6000 for a free consultation. We offer the expertise you need when facing the myriad outcomes from a construction zone accident.
Construction site safety tips for drivers
When you are driving on any road undergoing construction, it is important to stay savvy and safe. Many drivers are hurt and injured in construction zone accidents every day because they did not follow some important construction zone safety tips.
First, understand how construction work zones are structured so you know what to expect. Second, be aware of the most common causes of construction zone accidents. Next, review some tips for drivers traveling through construction work zones.
Construction Zone Layout
First, it helps to understand how a construction zone is laid out. Here are the basic areas of a construction zone:
- Advanced Warning Area: This is the area before approaching a construction zone. Usually, a construction company will post signage to indicate when the construction begins, the length of delays, and where the construction ends.
- Transition Area: This is the area right before a construction zone. Usually you will reduce your speed or merge lanes.
- Buffer Area: This is the space between the transition area and where the workers are. The buffer gives drivers time to correct their actions and keep workers safe from harm.
- Work Area: This is the area where the actual construction is taking place. This is the area that contains the most safety hazards. Be on the lookout for falling objects!
- Termination Area: This is the area between the end of the construction zone and where drivers can go back to normal.
Common Causes of Construction Zone Accidents
Construction sites in the United States are subject to regulation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These work environments are subject to OSHA standards and other safety rules that are standard in the construction industry. Unfortunately, accidents in construction worksites are still a common occurrence.
What causes these accidents?
- Poor or inadequate signage indicating construction zones
- Bad road conditions, like sharp pavement drops or loose asphalt
- Improper direction of traffic
- Equipment malfunctions
- Missing safety measures such as barriers, guardrail systems, and dividers
- Inadequately lit work zones
- Failure to follow workplace safety programs/negligence of road workers
Construction Zone Safety Tips
If you’re driving through a construction zone, we recommend the following:
- Pay attention to all posted signage, follow the directions
- Stay calm
- Focus on the driving
- Plan for delays
- Minimize distractions like radio, cell phone, or eating. Keep both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
- Turn on your headlights for increased visibility
- Watch brake lights on vehicles ahead of you
- Merge well before you reach a lane closure. One of the most common causes of accidents in construction zones is lane closures. Make sure to merge as early and as safely as possible.
- Change lanes only when pavement markings indicate you can change lanes
- Drive the recommended speed limit, or slow down
- Keep a safe distance between you and the driver in front of you. Ideally have two to three car lengths between you and the car in front of you. This is good practice regardless if you are driving through a construction site or not.
- Never pass on the shoulder or the median
- Stay patient
- Follow instructions from workers holding flags. Sometimes construction workers will help direct traffic around the work area using special flags or signs. Be sure to reduce your speed and obey the workers’ signals and directions.
- Be aware of where maintenance workers are working. Even if you don’t see workers present, obey the posted speed limit signs.
- Expect the unexpected. Perhaps you drove by the construction site just the other day, so you think you know what to expect. Construction sites are changing all the time as the project gets closer to completion. Construction equipment moves and so do barriers. Don’t expect the same detours or signs from before.
Now that you know a little bit more about construction safety, we’d also like to let you know that you are not alone should you become a victim in a Las Vegas construction zone accident. Our personal injury lawyers have extensive knowledge of the laws relating to these types of accidents. See below how to schedule your free consultation with Anthem Injury Lawyers.
Anthem Injury Lawyers
We hope these safe driving tips will help you and your family stay safe when traveling through construction sites. If you are injured in an accident on the North Las Vegas interchange, you should speak with an experienced lawyer immediately. At Anthem Injury Lawyers, we have a team of experienced personal injury lawyers and staff ready to meet with you.
Our office is in Henderson, but we handle personal injury cases all over the Las Vegas area. Contact us today at (702) 857-6000 for a free consultation.