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Insights Our Project Neon story: what it takes to win in Vegas

At Atkins’ Global Design Centre (GDC) in India, we’re proud to be the center of excellence for the AtkinsRéalis Group. We’re well into our digital transformation journey, so when we came to work on the mega Project Neon – it was our opportunity to show off the quality of our work and our passion for innovation.
image of Project Neon in Nevada

Making Project Neon shine

In 2018 the team on Project Neon were recognized at the Atkins Bridges Awards in Birmingham. Winning in the ‘Client Focus’ category while highly commended for ‘Outstanding Teamwork & Collaboration’. This year we were blown away to see Project Neon win the number one spot in the prestigious ‘Top 10 North American Road Projects of 2019’! 

Working between India and the US, this is our story of design vision, technical innovation and a determination to always better our best…

A safer, faster Las Vegas

The brainchild of the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), Project Neon is Nevada’s biggest infrastructure to date. This US$ 1 billion freeway project widens the 3.7 miles of Interstate 15 between Sahara Avenue and the ‘Spaghetti Bowl’ interchange in downtown Las Vegas. Our design plans separate mainstream freeway travel from local traffic, improving vehicle flow and enhancing safety with improved access to onramps and exits. What we’ve achieved on this project is making a tangible, sustainable difference, it will enable over half a million vehicles per day to use the Neon corridor by 2030.

Working as one

Our initial focus was to ensure both regions adopted a ‘one team’ approach. So before getting started on the designs and modelling, our GDC leads spent a few weeks at Atkins’s office in Henderson, Nevada. It helped us develop a thorough understanding of what the project required and what the client was expecting. Later, during the delivery phase, the US leads came across to India, working with us to ensure there were no glitches.

Our scope

Project Neon was a design-build contract with Atkins as the lead designer. The GDC was involved on the project from the preliminary design stage in late 2015 up to the end of construction in early 2019.


The GDC designed three bridges of variable spans and widths to US and Nevada standards. One of the design challenges demanded existing structures would be demolished, and new bridges constructed along the Neon corridor, while keeping traffic moving as smoothly as possible. We used specialized engineering software and BIM during this stage, which allowed us to work with enhanced accurately and speed.


Our BIM scope focused on clash detection on more than 30 designs, including highway elements, from bridge substructures, to retaining walls, barriers, lighting columns and sign bases.


During the ‘Design Services During Construction’ Phase, we were responsible for reviewing and addressing field design changes, non-conformance reports, shop, fabrication, as-built drawings, construction-related calculations, and other discipline-specific field engineering issues.

What worked well?

For the duration of the project, our GDC team worked in shifts to align our hours with colleagues in Las Vegas, Atlanta and elsewhere in the US. Our document management and financial compliance was seamless between the different teams, thanks to excellent collaboration and project controls tools. We also implemented our rigorous 5-Step Review process for quality assurance. All of the work was closely coordinated by Irene Wang (Neon Structures Manager), Gajanan Wagle (GDC Technical Lead) and Ajit Shavaprasad (GDC BIM lead). 

Despite the demanding project schedule, this allowed us to deliver the designs and models to the highest quality standards and well ahead of time. Our client was immensely pleased that our time-saving enabled the contractor to complete construction nearly a year earlier than originally anticipated!

Keen to work for a business where you’ll work on global projects daily, learning from some of the top experts in their fields? Browse our jobs and see where you fit into the mix.