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September 18, 2014

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Work on I-15 paving project could be done Monday

Image

Steve Marcus

A shuttle buggy feeds rubberized asphalt into a paver during resurfacing of Interstate 15 between Tropicana Avenue and Charleston Boulevard Monday, Sept. 19, 2011.

Interstate 15 Resurfacing

Higinio Arrenondo and Patrice Whitlaw prepare a section of road for a patch during resurfacing of Interstate 15 between Tropicana Avenue and Charleston Boulevard on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Making Rubberized Asphalt

Tommy Fisher, of Fisher Sand & Gravel, holds a handful of gravel at the Sloan Quarry Wednesday, September 14, 2011.  Fisher mixes crumb rubber from old tires with oil and rock to make the rubberized asphalt that is being used in the repaving of Interstate 15. Launch slideshow »

If everything goes as planned this weekend, the Nevada Department of Transportation said it might be done with the Interstate 15 repaving project on Monday – 10 days early.

The $6 million project to repave I-15 from Tropicana Avenue to the Spaghetti Bowl was scheduled to end Oct. 20, with crews only working each week from Sunday night to Thursday morning, leaving the freeway open for tourist traffic on the weekends.

But the week the project began was also the week Southern Nevada started getting wetter and cooler weather, which has continued off and on since early September.

No problem, transportation officials said. They decided to do an extra round of work this weekend, when the weather is expected to be perfect for paving.

With the extra 48 hours of continuous work – beginning at 11:59 p.m. Friday – the project could be done and the freeway completely reopened in time for Monday morning’s commute.

That’s assuming the weather cooperates and everything runs perfectly on the project, but even if it doesn’t, the work should still be done soon, according to Mary Martini, the department’s district engineer.

Crews will begin working Friday night on the northbound lanes of the interstate, at times leaving as few as one lane open for short stretches during the nighttime hours. Once the work on the northbound lanes is done, crews will move to the southbound lanes, likely late Saturday night.

Officials during the weekend hope to pour about 10,000 tons of the 25,000 tons of asphalt expected to be used for the project. It takes two to three hours for the asphalt to cure after it is poured before traffic can begin to use the lane.

“We will be releasing lanes as soon as we can,” Martini said.

Officials said the marathon paving session makes sense now, even though it wasn’t planned initially.

“We were hearing from the public: ‘OK, if you have to be out there, just get it done,’ ” she said.

They were also worried that if the project went on for too much longer, temperatures could drop even more, decreasing the quality of the pavement.

Joe Miller, area manager for Fisher Sand & Gravel, the contractor, said so far things have gone smoothly on the project.

Luckily, most of the rain has happened when crews were doing repairs and sealing cracks rather than paving, he said, and the asphalt plant where they are making the rubberized asphalt has been functioning well.

Fisher and its contractors have also brought in extra crews to make the work go more quickly, he said.

“The team really came together, (and) the production has been as good or a little better than we anticipated,” he said.

Once the paving is done, crews will have to return in about two weeks to put a final layer of paint on the lane stripes and install the dividers for the express lanes, Miller said, but that work will only require small traffic disruptions.

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