If all goes well vehicles will start rolling through a third interstate interchange in Mesquite six months from now.
City officials and guests threw ceremonial shovels of dirt at the new I-15 Exit 118 interchange on Wednesday, Dec. 2 to break ground for what they say is a bright future for the Mesquite Technology and Commerce Center on the west side of town.
“We are fortunate to stand here at this moment because I know people have been working on this for at least 10 years,” remarked George Gault, President of Mesquite Regional Business, Inc. “It’s a great time to be part of Mesquite. This is going to open up a lot of new possibilities for business.”
Mayor Al Litman echoed those thoughts saying “The future is bright for Mesquite. This is what we’ve been waiting for and now is the right time to build this interchange. I’m impressed with Clark County and with Regional Transportation Commission and its fuel indexing program. It’s fantastic for our community.”
During the groundbreaking ceremony, RSC General Manager for Do It Best Corporation Wendy Kenny said her corporation “has been looking forward to this occasion for the 10 years we’ve done business in Mesquite. Our team is thrilled with this interchange because it will divert traffic from other roadways and give our trucks direct access to our warehouse. The time our trucks will save going off and onto the interstate will save money and increase our efficiency.”
Jed Wheeler, Project Manager for Meadow Valley Contractors, Inc., told the Mesquite Local News that the project was important to local contractors and is creating many jobs for workers in southern Nevada.
“We will start actual construction on Dec. 7 and our target completion date is June 26, 2016,” Wheeler added.
The bridge that will be constructed over I-15 is a pre-cast arch structure. “We will cast the bridge in pieces in Las Vegas and truck it up here to set in place,” Wheeler explained. “That accounts for much of time and cost savings we’ll realize with this project.”
Adding to its aesthetic appeal, the bridge will have a ‘tunnel’ effect spanning I-15 using archways to provide a unique look and feel.
The interchange will provide direct access to the 800-acre MTCC industrial park and relieve much of the semi-truck traffic from the roundabouts at Exit 120. It will also give sports enthusiasts who attend games at the Mesquite Sports and Events Center a faster trip off the interstate via Lower Flat Top Drive rather than down Falcon Ridge Parkway.
The interchange will provide on-off access from both the northbound and southbound lanes of the interstate.
Mayor Litman touted the importance of Exit 118 to the city’s economic future saying “The project adds a viable commercial exit to the Technology and Commerce Center, which is a key player in our economic development efforts.”
MRBI is marketing the MTCC as an ideal area for distribution and warehousing with its central location on I-15 halfway between Los Angeles, CA and Salt Lake City, UT. Gault says the new exit with its direct route on and off the highway will increase the attractiveness of the MTCC to those kinds of businesses.
Meadow Valley Contractors, Inc. is using a design/build construction process for the $14.7 million project set for completion in just six months. Travis Anderson, City of Mesquite Public Works engineer told the Mesquite City Council in August that liquidated damages are included in the contract requirements if the estimated completion date of June 26 is not met. Bill Tanner, Mesquite Public Works Director, told the Mesquite Local News earlier that the City and the contractor were both confident the June date was viable barring any last minute changes by the Nevada Department of Transportation or unforeseen conditions.
Anderson also pointed out to the Council that the ‘design/build’ nature of the project speeds up the time it takes to complete the construction.
Costs of the project are paid from the Fuel Revenue Indexing fund passed in 2014 in Clark County and managed by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. Litman, who is the Mesquite representative on the RTC Board of Directors said the number of planned projects paid for by the fuel tax has increased from 199 to 220 because all them so far “have been on time and on budget.”