Headed for Vegas any time soon? If so, California transportation officials have some advice: Get on the road early or use an alternative route to avoid major highway construction.
That's because sections of the Interstate 15-Interstate 215 interchange in Devore will be closed on weekends while crews replace cracked pavement.
The highway, which is almost as busy on weekends as it is during the week, is a major route for visitors to the Colorado River region, the high desert, Arizona and Nevada.
The work -- between Sierra Avenue in Fontana and Cleghorn Creek Bridge in the Cajon Pass -- will take place on five consecutive weekends beginning Sept. 29.
During construction, highway traffic will be diverted onto local streets for three to seven miles, said Norman Suydam, project manager for the California Department of Transportation.
Work on the northbound lanes will run from 11 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, Suydam said. Construction on southbound lanes will last from 9 a.m. Friday to 1 p.m. Sunday.
As many as 5,000 vehicles an hour pass through the Devore interchange from 3 to 9 p.m. Fridays, Caltrans spokeswoman Rose Melgoza said. The number increases to 7,000 an hour after 3 p.m. Sunday.
On a typical weekday, by comparison, 100,000 cars and trucks travel through the interchange in a 24-hour period.
In addition to resurfacing the road and its six connectors, the $26-million project will add a three-mile northbound lane for trucks climbing to the Cajon Pass. It is scheduled for completion in January.
During construction, Melgoza said, travelers should avoid the interchange on weekends. She suggested that Las Vegas-bound motorists consider flying or using an alternative route. For Los Angeles-based travelers, one alternative is to take the Antelope Valley Freeway to Palmdale before heading for Interstate 15, Suydam said.
If they choose to drive Interstate 15, motorists should "leave early and stay late," Melgoza said. She suggested traveling Friday and Monday mornings to avoid construction delays.
For traffic updates, go to the Caltrans website at www .caltrans8.info or call (866) 383-4631.