Project Neon. Argh.
If you are a local (or planning to become one soon), you are (or should be) familiar with Project Neon, the massive roadway reconstruction project that covers the I15N from just before Sahara through the Spaghetti Bowl and various streets and major thruways.
Beginning in April of 2016, the project broke ground. At the time of this writing, it is in the “Main Event,” the big push that will continue until the scheduled end in April of 2019.
You read that correctly. THREE SOLID YEARS of road construction, and nearly all of it in valuable commuting road space.
The first two years weren’t too bad. People just sighed and soldiered on to work. By the time it affected my commute, I had moved into Casa Wineaux and was pretty sure that the 10-15 minute drive wouldn’t be a problem.
If I leave the house early on a weekend morning about the same time that I’m usually going to work during the week, I can reach the building in about ten minutes. Maybe 15 if there’s some sort of event or early weekend traffic. When street construction began in support of Project Neon, my everyday commute stretched to 20 minutes. Long for me, but doable.
And then came the <insert F word(s) of choice here> “Main Event.” It took a couple of tardies to let me know that my days of short-ish commutes were largely over. I live about 6.5 miles (10.6km) from work. With the “Main Event,” in full swing, it has taken me as long as 45 minutes to get to work. That is NOT a typo.
Recently, traffic has been, um, *hazardous.* Why? Because it’s my belief that people are sick and tired of construction. They are rude, reckless, irate, and downright angry. I don’t blame them.
I’ve dubbed this irrational behavior as the Project Neon Fatigue Syndrome (PNFS). I made it up.
I had gone months without being late for work. Since the Main Event started in April, I’ve been late as often as twice a week. And it’s not because I didn’t leave on time. It’s usually because a few vehicles have decided to play bumper cars during rush hour. It’s a mess.
I try very hard not to be affected by PNFS. I turn on the Breathe app on my Apple Watch, avoid listening to anything resembling news, and let soft classical music play on my iPhone. And send lots of Waze screenshots to my boss when I’m in traffic. It’s easy to do when your top speed is zero. Waze, by the way, is stellar in showing traffic conditions where you are, but it tends to be overly creative in giving actual directions.
While I could go into painfully “soothing” dialogue about the project, I’ve instead included links with pictures, current news, and videos.
Photo Gallery (newest at the top)
Videos (interview with Mayor Goodman on top video, and if you scroll down, you’ll see animated renderings)
Closures and Traffic Changes (self-explanatory, and usually current)
And, NDOT (Nevada Department of Transportation) is on Twitter @NDOTProjectNeon. This is a relatively fast way of keeping up with the road closures, which, truthfully, usually close at night and open early in the morning, or they will close down areas for an entire weekend. Or a week. Or a month. Or several.
Here’s my advice. Remember to stay frosty, calm, and focused. Put your phone on standby mode. Be sure to watch out for that angry, irritated driver who’s just a little more pissed than you are and may be suffering from PNFS on a more intense scale.
So, fellow Las Vegans, this, too, shall pass.
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