Memorial Day had Las Vegas wrapped in a traffic jam that stretched for miles in a scorching heat that hit an all-time high this year. The reopening of Las Vegas gambling dens at full capacity is the main reason for the traffic crawl on Interstate 15.
Throngs of people who had come to enjoy Sin City’s return to normal were headed back to South Carolina, resulting in a traffic jam that went on for 26 miles, as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Highway Patrol had made prior announcements of traffic delay expectations due to the many tourists flocking to Vegas from California to enjoy a three-day weekend.
On the fateful Monday, The Nevada Highway Patrol reported that traffic was backed six miles a few minutes after 7.00 am and had reached thirteen miles by 8.00 am. By 9.00 am, the holdup was sixteen miles long, and the Regional Transportation Commission told drivers to expect long delays. Things had only gotten worse by 10.30 pm as the backup stretched 26 miles long.
As of 3.00 pm, getting from Russell Road to the state line on Interstate 15 took one hour and 44 minutes. By the late hours of the day, there was still a miles-long backup near Primm. The department tweeted some alternative route options to avoid the logjam. NHP suggested that motorists use SR160 leading to W. Bell Vista Avenue, and then get on Route 127 in California to reach Baker. Those that preferred to stay on the interstate were advised to pack their patience.
KLAS_TV reports show that highway patrol had a field day thanks to the traffic jam, with troopers issuing 150 moving violations. The interstate was marred with 252 traffic stops, seven-car crashes, five drunken driving tests, and an arrest on a domestic violence warrant. Eighty motorists were also given citations for using the shoulder of the highway or driving off the interstate.
This traffic crawl unfolded as California recorded its hottest heat levels of the year. The National Weather Service reported that temperatures hit 100 degrees on Memorial Day, the first triple-digit thermometer reading since 1st October 2020.
High-Speed Train Solution
The traffic backup on Memorial Day resurfaced the issue of a high-speed train running from Southern California to Las Vegas. One reporter from KSNV-TV shared this sentiment as he tweeted a photo of the congestion with a truck barring the shoulder to keep drivers from using that part of the road to overtake other motorists. After explaining what the vehicle was doing, he stated that the state should add either a train service to the LA Basin or more Interstate 15 lanes.
The idea of having high-speed trains in the region has been up in the air for some time now, and a private company is proposing to build it. This move is based on the success of the country’s privately-owned freight railroads that have only turned to the government for improvement funds. The private investors say that they can start working on the world-class high-speed passenger rail network during the 2021 summer if all goes well.
The firm can make prudent investment decisions free from unnecessary government regulation that ends up in delays and increased costs. The modern-day rail network is expected to have lines in California, Texas, Florida, Maryland, and Nevada. Once construction is complete and the high-speed trains hit the ground running, market forces will likely spur these passenger railroads offering convenient schedules, superior experiences, and competitive rates.
The first high-speed rail is expected to start at the Victorville-Apple Valley, located in San Bernardino County, about ninety miles east of Los Angeles, and end in a station close to the Las Vegas Strip. It would take about three hours from California’s Inland Empire to Sin City at a speed of 200mph. Each passenger’s one-way ticket’s estimated cost is $60, and the project will be completed in about three years.
Although this is a venture by a private company, the US government still has a role to play in its success. First, the lawmakers must put policies in place that encourage private firms to put billions of dollars on the line for the project to materialize.
Reopening of Casinos
The many visitors that clogged I-15 on Memorial Day were headed home after coming to enjoy Las Vegas’ reopening at full capacity. Some gambling dens had been running at full casino floor capacity, but only because they verified that 80% or more of their workforce was vaccinated. Better stay at home and play free pokies, right?
Memorial Day weekend put them all back in business, removing restrictions that were previously there by law. This restriction-free period came after the announcement that vaccinated people do not have to adorn marks or practice social distancing. Currently, no Nevada counties have limitations set on occupancy or large gatherings. This situation will only change if the infection rate surges. Dens that are already up and running include;
# Bellagio Hotel and Casino
# Caesars Palace
# MGM Grand
# The Venetian Resort Las Vegas
# Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino
# Luxor Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas was hard hit by the pandemic since most gambling establishments had to shut down or limit the clients they could accommodate. Now that the world is almost back to the ‘old normal’, the city is gearing up to get its economy out of the gutters. The city just completed the World of Concrete trade show that ran from 7th June to 10th at the Convention Center.
The metropolis is still retaining temperature screenings, wide aisles, and sanitization stations. On the downside, proof of vaccination is not required, meaning that observers still have to apply caution. Alan Feldman, a member of the University of Nevada’s International Gaming Institute, compared the reopening of Vegas to being at the front seat of a rollercoaster: Even if clear skies are in view up ahead, it is unclear whether the city will continue going up or crash down.
About Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a uniquely American holiday observed on the last May Monday. The day honors and moans military men and women that gave their lives in service of the United States. It was originally Decoration Day and officialized in 1971 after being popular once the Civil War ended. Most families visit military burial sites. However, others prefer to participate in joyous events like parades and concerts, similar to what unfolded in Las Vegas.