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Councilman Says It Will Be Weeks Before I-15 Is Fully Restored

Updated Sept. 11, 9:00 a.m.

Recovering from flood damage, single lanes of Interstate 15 should be open by Friday, but the trip between Las Vegas and Mesquite will likely remain a long, slow slog for travelers for weeks to come.

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With chunks of the highway washed out from flooding Monday, Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins, whose district includes that area, said it will be weeks before two lanes each way are rebuilt and opened.

In turn, some businesses in Mesquite already impacted will see little relief.

"Drive-through traffic that would stop for the buffets is definitely being impacted,” said Collins.

Detours include a diversion through Valley of Fire State Park, which is temporarily waiving fees, he added. The highway through the park eventually turns north and reconnects with I-15, bypassing the damage.

It also adds about an hour more travel time. Commercial vehicles have a little more driving to do. Collins said truck drivers are being turned away as they try to exit Highway 93 to use Northshore Road, which passes through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and reconnects to I-15 near Overton. But park rangers are turning commercial truckers away, citing federal rules that prohibit commercial vehicles.

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Collins said he is seeking a temporary waiver of that rule from the federal Department of the Interior. Without that waiver, Collins added, commercial vehicles are using the Great Basin Highway that takes them many more miles west and adds at least an hour’s more time to their travels.

“The question is, how flexible can government be when there is a catastrophe like this?” Collins said.

Residents who need to report flood damage to their property can call 702-455-5715.
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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.