Project Neon brings large scale improvements to the busiest stretch of freeway in Nevada and its 300,000 daily drivers.
Nearly two decades in the making, Project Neon is the largest and most expansive public works job in Nevada’s history. The design-build project widened nearly 4 miles of Interstate 15 near Las Vegas with 63 lane miles of new concrete, 29 bridges and 10 miles of drainage improvements. Nevada Department of Transportation and the City of Las Vegas met regularly with the design-build team of general contractor Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. and lead designer Atkins North America to ensure the project met the following goals once completed:
- Improve safety
- Reduce congestion
- Reduce travel delays
- Improve air quality
- Improve freeway operations
- Create better access to downtown Las Vegas
And, with the use of precast concrete for the majority of the project’s main components, the team was able to successfully finish the project safely and one year ahead of schedule.
“The biggest advantage of using precast products on Project Neon was cost and speed without sacrificing quality and performance,” said Tony Illia, NDOT’s public information officer.
Western Pacific Precast in Sloane, Nev., was one of three manufacturers involved with producing the precast products for the project. Adam Mainka, vice president and general manager, said the company batched about 15,000 cubic yards of concrete to manufacture 911 sounds wall and 1,259 retaining wall pieces. The mix design used was a 5,000-psi mix designed to generate a 2,500-psi stripping strength in 14 hours. It included Type II and Type V cement and fly ash.
Mainka explained retaining walls were used on the project because the walls’ proximity to existing roadways did not allow the zone of evacuation and backfill to extend far enough to allow anchor straps for an MSE-type wall.
“This was the first time that a double-sided precast panel that incorporates a precast footing has been used as a cantilever retaining structure,” Mainka said. “The quality and appearance are far superior to other cast-in-place structures with the NDOT system.”
Mainka said installation was completed as roadways became available for erection with a significant number of walls installed during live traffic situations. The project relied heavily on the technical expertise of the precaster, which resulted in a very economical solution.
Other precast manufacturers included Phoenix-based TPAC and Rinker Materials who produced the precast concrete bridge spans, box culverts and reinforced drainage pipes.
“We adopted a design-build approach that delivered the project nearly a year earlier than originally anticipated for nearly $80 million in time savings for local taxpayers,” Illia said. “This project was a truly collaborative process between stakeholders for improved traffic safety, efficiency and reliability.”
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