A freeway interchange in Las Vegas is so busy and difficult to navigate that local residents have dubbed it the Spaghetti Bowl. The interchange connects Interstates 15 and 5, U.S. Routes 95 and 93, and Martin Luther King Boulevard, and it has earned a reputation as a major accident hotspot. Between 2006 and 2010, drivers using the interchange were involved in almost 600 crashes, but that number rose to 1,060 between 2011 and 2015. According to road safety experts, the Spaghetti Bowl is so dangerous because the traffic planners who designed the interchange in the mid-1960s did not anticipate how quickly Las Vegas would grow.
Steps taken to make the Spaghetti Bowl safer over the years include adding lanes to some approaches and installing crash barriers that are designed to absorb kinetic energy and reduce the severity of motor vehicle accidents, but these measures did not address the original design’s flaws. In 2016, state officials allocated about $1 billion to rebuild large parts of the interchange and improve driving conditions for the motorists who use it. They named the effort Project Neon.
Officials began planning improvements to the Spaghetti Bowl in the 1990s. The interchange is currently used by about 300,000 vehicles every day, but that figure is expected to double by 2035. Most of the work on the project was completed within three years. Key aspects of Project Neon include:
- Widening more than three miles of Interstate 15
- Installing electronic signs to warn motorists about congestion and dangerous conditions
- Converting express lanes on Interstate 15 into HOV lanes
- Rebuilding the interchange that links Interstate 515 with Charleston Boulevard
- Extending South Grand Central Parkway to intersect with South Industrial Road
Many Spaghetti Bowl accidents are caused by drivers who lose control of their vehicles because they failed to reduce speed to navigate sharp bends. If you are injured in a crash caused by a speeding driver and wish to pursue civil remedies, an experienced personal injury attorney could seek to gather evidence of negligence by scrutinizing the police report and using a subpoena to obtain the electronic data that virtually all modern vehicles store on black-box type devices. This data could reveal how fast the vehicle that struck you was traveling before the accident and whether or not its driver took any action to avoid crashing.