Nevada governor wants to tap surplus for I-15 widening

| 11/13/2006

Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn has said that he is crafting a two-year state budget that would use some of the state's budget surplus for widening Interstate 15 in Las Vegas.

Guinn, who leaves office Jan. 2, can only leave recommendations for his successor. With that in mind, Guinn said Gov.-elect Jim Gibbons has agreed to his I-15 plan.

In an effort to alleviate traffic congestion along the route, Guinn proposes spending $170 million of the state's $486 million budget surplus on expanding the route from the Spaghetti Bowl at Interstate 515 and U.S. 95 to Craig Road. The interstate would have between eight and 10 lanes along the stretch.

The surplus money and a $25 million federal appropriation would be used on the widening project, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

The Nevada Legislature would need to sign off on the widening project before any money could be spent. If lawmakers approve the plan during the session that begins in February, the project could go to bid as early as March.

The highway project would be the state's first "design-build" effort. The process allows contractors to submit plans to design and construct each project. Typically, one firm designs a highway and another builds it, with the two tasks bid separately.

About 40 states now use design-build in some capacity.