Friday, Feb. 6, 2009 | 6:39 p.m.
Construction along Interstate 515 to create the new Galleria Interchange is about halfway done, and crews from Frehner Construction are on track for a September completion.
"Frehner has assured me that they intend to finish the project on time and on schedule," Henderson Project Manager Jonna Sansom said.
The $63.3 million project, which is being funded by the Nevada Department of Transportation, is intended to take some of the traffic load off of Sunset Road. At the same time, Henderson is working on a project to extend Galleria from Interstate 515, also known as U.S. 95, to Lake Las Vegas Parkway. Both projects began construction in April.
Workers have laid the steel girders over the southbound lanes of I-515 for the Galleria overpass and have made substantial progress on building the on-ramps for the interchange.
The project posed an engineering challenge because of its closeness to the Sunset interchange, Sansom said, and required engineers to use what is called a tight diamond interchange. Engineers had to use "braiding ramps," Sansom said, which means that the one interchange's ramps will be built on top of the other's. This has required crews to amass enormous piles of dirt and tall steel girders.
Though the project is on track, it has not been without challenges, Sansom said. When the interchange was originally conceived, Galleria was a mostly undeveloped area, and project designers had hoped to complete the interchange before development drew closer, she said.
But with the construction of a residential neighborhood immediately east of I-515 and north of Sunset Road, Frehner had to alter its plans.
After residents of the neighborhood complained about the noise and lights being used for night work, Sansom said, Frehner and the project planners had to change their strategy and push more work into the daylight hours.
"We modified the traffic control plan," Sansom said. "Unfortunately, we had to have more lane restrictions during the day than we originally planned. But we didn't want to keep the residents up all night, so that was the sacrifice we had to make."
Jeremy Twitchell can be reached at 990-8928 or [email protected].