By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor ARTBA

The $1.5 billion overhaul to the Las Vegas “Spaghetti Bowl” interchange will break ground April 7, according to news reports. The rehabilitation, dubbed Project Neon, will provide a smoother, safer transition between U.S. Highway 95 and Interstate 15, as well as better access to downtown Las Vegas.

Untangling the 3.7-mile stretch of Nevada’s busiest freeway interchange is the largest transportation infrastructure project ever tackled by the state, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). ARTBA members Kiewit Corporation and Aggregate Industries are among the firms involved in the work.

The project includes traditional widening, new ramps and construction of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) connectors. Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation (FAST) cameras will make this one of the first truly integrated Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) projects in the country. FAST is designed to both monitor and control traffic.

Kiewit Corporation, which helped build the road in the mid-1960s, was awarded the $559 million widening and improvement contract in November 2015. The company said it plans to hire nearly 300 workers from local union halls and procure materials and supplies for the project from local businesses.

Project Neon’s program of improvements is expected to create hundreds of planning and engineering jobs and thousands of local construction jobs over its 20-year lifetime. Nevada subcontractors Wells Cargo Construction and Atkins North America are also on the project team.

Other project details include crews moving one million cubic yards of dirt—enough to fill 324 Olympic-sized swimming pools; pouring 42,062 cubic yards of concrete—enough to build a sidewalk from Las Vegas to St. George, Utah; plus 1.8 million square feet of asphalt paving, enough to build nearly 3,000 average driveways.