Flooding forces 50 miles of I-15 to be closed north of Las Vegas

Nearly 50 miles of Interstate 15, a major artery linking Nevada to Utah, is expected to be shut down for days as crews work to repair serious damage to the road by heavy rains and flash flooding, officials said on Tuesday.

The road, used by truckers and others, has been shut from mile marker 64 to 112 from just north of Las Vegas to Mesquite, Nev., Meg Ragonese, a spokeswoman for Nevada Department of Transportation, told the Los Angeles Times. She estimated that repairs could take three to four days.


The closure means that traffic coming from Utah would have to travel an additional 77 miles along slower and narrower roads, including State Highway 56 to U.S. 93, Utah Department of Transportation spokesman John Gleason said by telephone.

"I don't think it can be overstated what this closure means to Utah, Nevada, Arizona and other states," Gleason said. "This is a unique situation."

On Monday, seasonal moisture combined with remnants of tropical Storm Norbert dumped record rainfall through parts of the Southwest including more than four inches in the Las Vegas area, according to the National Weather Service. At the Phoenix airport, 3.29 inches of rain was reported, the most precipitation the city has ever received.

Flash floods swamped vehicles and inundated homes in Nevada and Arizona. The water was blamed for two deaths in Arizona.

"We are working as quickly as possible to reopen the road," Nevada spokeswoman Ragonese said. "I-15 sustained extensive flood damage. We are assessing the damage and prepping the base under the road."

"I can't speculate on the financial impact," she said. "This is the major interstate through southern Nevada to Utah.

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