The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) has begun planning the road work necessary to support future traffic around the forthcoming $2 billion Raiders football stadium in Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
NDOT officials said the agency still must complete a two-year environmental review and acquire the necessary land, an 18-month process. NDOT said funding for the project would likely be available in 2020 or 2021.
State officials said the road work was already on NDOT's agenda and that the stadium development caused the agency to make it a higher schedule priority.
NDOT said back in February that it would move forward with plans for the necessary road upgrades even though the Raiders move to Las Vegas from Oakland, CA, had not been finalized. At the time, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval's office projected that the improvements, which could include new highway interchanges, carpool lanes and direct-access ramps, would cost about $900 million.
The Raiders expect to begin using the stadium in time for the 2020–2021 season. That means fans and Las Vegas residents alike might have to deal with traffic snarls around the stadium before and during construction.
The stadium deal was placed in jeopardy in January after Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire businessman and longtime backer of an NFL franchise in Las Vegas, yanked his financial support for the project. Adelson reportedly withdrew his $650 million commitment because he believed he had been excluded from participating in the negotiations for a stadium lease with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority.
Team officials eventually were able to arrange a loan from Bank of America to replace the gap in funding Adelson left behind.
The speedy deal with Bank of America allowed the Raiders to push on with construction. In May, team officials announced they planned on hiring Mortenson Construction and McCarthy Building Companies to co-manage the project.
The project is being fast-tracked under a 30-month construction schedule, with 15% of contracts going to small businesses. Bids were due at the end of July. Raiders officials also said they will focus on worker diversity and internships as part of the project's community benefits plan.