California promised to expand I-15 near Stateline in 2021, Las Vegas mayor says it’s time to deliver

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 8:43 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Memorial Day brought that all too familiar post-holiday bumper-to-bumper crawl back to California for drivers on Interstate 15. It’s a problem one Nevada politician says California must address and must address now.

“I’m ready to go out there with a shovel to show that we care about all of you from California, we want you to have a great time,” said Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman. Goodman knows no one has a good time sitting in traffic. This Memorial Day, those heading to Southern California were stuck in a 12 mile backup in Nevada from stateline where the interstate narrows from three lanes in Nevada to two in California, in addition to other slowdowns inside California.

“Backed up so long, so deep, taking people what should be a three and a half hour to four hour drive, nine and ten hours,” Goodman shared. Goodman knows that leaves some visitors less likely to make a return trip.

“Selfishly for us, it is tourism. It is the convention business,” Goodman argued as reasons for interstate expansion. A promise to expand a five mile stretch from Stateline to the Agricultural Inspection Station is one California has already made.

“It will be done by this summer, you’re holding me to account. It’s on me to get it done by this summer,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom at a press conference in December 2021 off I-15 with then Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. So far, only one mile has been completed.

“They need to get their acts together,” Goodman stated. Goodman explained while lanes have been expanded on the Nevada side, the need for California to make changes has been an issue since her husband was in office.

“It will be a quarter of a century we are screaming at California come on do something,” Goodman clarified. Goodman hopes the Californians who end up stuck in traffic because of the insufficient interstate take that time to ask for help.

“Call on your elected personnel and tell them get CalTrans on board,” Goodman asked.

After pushing CalTrans for answers for two months about when the promised expansion will take place, they sent FOX5 this statement:

Caltrans has opened a one-mile transition lane that allows motorists to merge smoothly from three to two lanes along southbound I-15 at the California-Nevada border. This one-mile transition lane has saved drivers traveling from Las Vegas to Southern California an average of 30-40 minutes on non-holiday weekends with little to no queuing around the border.

Plans to improve traffic conditions in the area include the opening of a third, southbound part-time lane for five miles from the state line to the California Department of Food and Agricultural station. The timing of opening the lane is still being determined as Caltrans works with our federal partners and the Southern California Association of Governments on the necessary regulatory approvals.