Interstate 15 (abbreviated I-15) is the fourth-longest north-south transcontinental interstate highway in the United States, traveling through the states of California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Montana. The Utah and Arizona portions have been officially designated the 'Veterans Memorial Highway'.
Since I-15's inception it has served as a long-haul route for North American commerce. It is now officially chartered for this purpose. From the junction of Interstate 515 in Las Vegas to the Canadian border I-15 forms part of the CANAMEX Corridor, a High Priority Corridor, as a result of North American Free Trade Agreement.
Local portions were built to connect the Inland Empire with San Diego in California, facilitate tourism access to Las Vegas, interconnect all of the the Metropolitan Statistical Areas in Utah except Logan, and provide freeway bypasses for Pocatello, Idaho Falls and Great Falls.
Since I-15's initial construction, California, Nevada and Utah have consistently ranked in the fastest growing areas of the United States. As a result the I-15 corridor has substantially increased in population and commuter traffic has increased the traffic burden on the freeway. Current population estimates are that over 75% of the Utah's population and over 70% of Nevada's population live in counties where Interstate 15 is the primary transportation corridor. Similarly, in California, I-15 is seeing more commuter traffic due to the growth of the Mojave Desert communities of Victorville and Barstow. In all of these states I-15 has recently been or is currently in the process of being upgraded to increase capacity. The Arizona, Idaho and Montana portions have retained their rural, long-haul character. Although Arizona has also grown substantially since I-15's inception, I-15 only serves an isolated corner of the state.
Due to this rapid area growth, the I-15 corridor is the focus of several mass transit projects. The Las Vegas Monorail and the TRAX light rail in Salt Lake City are now in operation. The FrontRunner commuter rail system is expected to begin operation in 2008. Between Los Angeles and Las Vegas has long been proposed as a maglev train route; in 2004 the California-Nevada Interstate Maglev project held public meetings on the plan.
This highway's southern terminus is in San Diego, California at Interstate 8, 18 miles (29 km) north of the international border with Mexico. However, work is being done to extend this to Interstate 5. The current work on this extension is signed State Route 15. There is a continuous freeway between I-8 and I-5, but various intersections and acceleration/deceleration lanes are not up to interstate standards. The northern terminus is in Sweetgrass, Montana at the international border between the United States and Canada, where it becomes Alberta Highway 4.
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