Memorial Day Traffic Clogged as Las Vegas Visitors Return to Southern California  

Posted on: June 1, 2021, 02:34h. 

Last updated on: July 6, 2021, 05:55h.

The Memorial Day weekend in Las Vegas wrapped up with a traffic jam on the interstate to Southern California and scorching temperatures. Casinos in Las Vegas also opened at full capacity this week.

I-15 traffic
Traffic crawls along Interstate 15 from Las Vegas to Southern California on Memorial Day. A box truck is seen blocking motorists from using the shoulder of the interstate. (Image: Tom Hawley tweet)

On Memorial Day, crowds heading back to Southern California on Interstate 15 from Las Vegas casinos experienced traffic jams as long as 26 miles, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. 

During the day on Monday, the Nevada Highway Patrol tweeted some alternative routes to avoid the traffic logjam. The Highway Patrol also offered advice to those wanting to stay on the interstate.

If you decide to use the 15, pack your patience,” the Highway Patrol said.

On Monday, Highway patrol troopers issued 150 moving violations, according to KLAS-TV. There were 252 traffic stops, seven vehicle crashes, five drunken driving arrests, and one arrest on a domestic violence warrant. Also, 80 motorists were issued citations for traveling on the shoulder of the road or off the interstate, the television station reported.

During this, temperatures in the Las Vegas Valley reached their hottest levels of the year, according to the National Weather Service. The thermometer hit 100 degrees on Memorial Day, the first triple-digit reading in the area since Oct. 1, 2020.

High-Speed Train Sought

As traffic backed up Monday on I-15, the issue of a high-speed train from Southern California to Las Vegas arose again.

Tom Hawley, a reporter for KSNV-TV, tweeted a picture of the traffic congestion, showing a truck blocking the shoulder to keep drivers from using that part of the interstate to pass other motorists.

“Box truck is straddling the line to stop impatient drivers from getting by on the shoulder and cheating those who obey the rules,” Hawley wrote in a tween showing a picture of traffic congestion. “What we really need here is either train service to the LA Basin (not just Victorville) or more I-15 lanes in CA.”

A company proposing to build a high-speed train from Southern California to Las Vegas has said the project could begin as early as this summer. The route would go from the the Victorville-Apple Valley area to a station near the Las Vegas Strip. Apple Valley is about 90 miles east of Los Angeles in San Bernardino County. The train would travel 200 mph and take about three hours to reach Las Vegas from the Inland Empire of California. The projected cost for passengers is $60 dollars for a one-way ticket. Construction on the above-ground track along I-15 would take three years.

Casinos Open at Full Capacity

As many visitors headed home on Monday, others attended a free concert that kicked off just after midnight Tuesday in downtown Las Vegas. The musical performances took place at the Fremont Street Experience in the casino district known for decades as Glitter Gulch.

Beginning Tuesday, casinos in Nevada were allowed to operate at 100 percent capacity without previous COVID-19 restrictions. Some hotel-casinos in Las Vegas already were operating at full gaming floor capacity after verifying that at least 80 percent of their workforce is vaccinated.