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Looking back on construction of the 215 Beltway — PHOTOS

Updated September 27, 2022 - 10:25 am

The Bruce Woodbury Beltway, also known as the 215 Beltway, wasn’t always here to help us get from Henderson to Summerlin and beyond.

The Beltway, which circles three-quarters of the Las Vegas Valley today and is the largest road project in Southern Nevada history, was originally set to be completed by 2025. However, the Clark County route was completed in 2003 to keep up with demand from the valley’s growing population.

The Beltway was named after former Clark County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury, who served for 28 years — the longest of any commissioner in Nevada history.

The first stretch of the Beltway, the Interstate 215 portion, is maintained by the Nevada Department of Transportation. The first portion of the interstate between 1-15 and Harry Reid International Airport was finished in 1996. In 2005, the I-215 interchange at U.S. Route 95 in Henderson was completed.

During this time, the interstate also made its Hollywood debut in “Lethal Weapon 4.” For two weeks in 1998, the road was closed for filming.

With funding from a tax program passed by the Nevada Legislature in 1991, the Clark County-controlled and funded portion of the Beltway, Clark County Route 215, was constructed. The primary sources for the project were the Motor Vehicle Privilege Tax and a new development tax. Additional taxes going toward state and county government development were approved in May 2003 by the Legislature to help raise an additional $2.7 billion over the next 25 years to go toward widening the Beltway.

The first part of the 215 Beltway to be built west of Interstate 15 was completed in January 1999. To celebrate the completion of the road extending from Interstate 15 to Decatur Boulevard, race car driver Jim “Jet” Nelson drove on the new portion as crowds watched from the side of the highway.

In 2000, construction finished on an 8-mile stretch of the Beltway through Summerlin.

In the northeast valley, Clark County Route 215 ends at Interstate 15 near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Work on this portion of the Beltway is ongoing, and is anticipated to finish in the fourth quarter of 2022.

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