Why is this study being conducted?

Congress recognized the importance of the US 93 Corridor between Phoenix and Las Vegas and designated it as future I-11 in the recent transportation authorization bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). Previous planning studies have presumed that if extended north of Las Vegas and south of Phoenix, this Corridor has the potential to become a major multimodal north-south transcontinental corridor through the Intermountain West. The Corridor would connect major cities, existing and future trade hubs, existing and future domestic and international deep-water ports, intersecting Interstate highways, and railroads. This study was conducted to evaluate the validity of these claims, establish a purpose and need for the Corridor, consider possible alignments and multimodal alternatives, and develop implementation and funding strategies.

What is the study area?

For study purposes, the Corridor was divided into segments. The segment between the metropolitan areas of Las Vegas and Phoenix was the Congressionally Designated portion and studied in the most detail to examine preferred alignment(s) for I-11. From Las Vegas to Canada, and from Phoenix to Mexico, potential options for extension of the Corridor were also considered. The Corridor segments are identified in the map shown to the right.  I-11_SegmentationMap_011014_MF

Do you have a map of the proposed route?

Several previous studies have identified potential alignments for the Corridor or a similar north-south Interstate route (e.g., Hassayampa Freeway and the CANAMEX Corridor). As part of this study, prior recommendations were reviewed, building upon them utilizing new information, to determine suitable alternative alignment options. Each feasible alignment, as well as the “no build” option, was evaluated based on criteria, including but not limited to: meeting passenger and freight travel needs, compatibility with local plans, community support, environmental impact, and cost.  The results of this study culminated in the Corridor Concept Report (posted on the Documents webpage).

If extended north of Las Vegas, will the Corridor connect to Reno?

A range of Corridor routing options north of Las Vegas were reviewed with an alternative connecting to Reno recommended.  Additional information can be found in the Corridor Concept Report, posted on the Documents webpage.

If extended south of Phoenix, will the Corridor connect to Tucson?

A range of Corridor routing options south of Phoenix were reviewed with an alternative connecting to Tucson and south to Nogales was recommended.  Additional information can be found in the Corridor Concept Report, posted on the Documents webpage.

Will this be only a highway corridor?

Options for multiple modes of transportation were explored such as highway, freight rail, passenger rail, transit, pipeline and energy/utility transmission. One or more of these options could be paired within the same right of way, or different transportation modes could travel parallel to one another using different alignments. Technology improvements that can enhance travel were also considered (e.g., real-time/adaptive messaging signs, vehicle communication, etc.).

With US 93 improvements in place, do we really need a freeway between Phoenix and Las Vegas?

As part of this study, the team will investigate and assess the need for a new or improved facility with respect to various factors such as traffic congestion, freight movement, economic development and safety to determine whether the facility is needed, for what purpose, and with what benefit.

When will this Corridor be built?

This two-year study determine that there is a need for a new or improved transportation facility between Phoenix and Las Vegas (with potential extensions north to Canada and south to Mexico) and outlined viable location(s) for such a facility. This study, however, serves as the foundation for subsequent, more detailed studies (such as environmental and engineering) that are required. No funding is currently available to construct the Corridor. Certain highway segments that could be part of I-11, however, such as the Boulder City Bypass in Nevada, are farther along in the development process and could be constructed sooner than other portions as funding becomes available.

Will I-11 be a toll road?

At this point, no funding is available to construct an Interstate facility in the Corridor. The study evaluated developed high-level cost estimates and options to pay for it. Should the Corridor proceed through implementation, a combination of funding sources and financing will be necessary to build the facility. Various funding sources and project implementation strategies will certainly be investigated, including public-private partnerships, of which tolling is just one of many options.

Is the I-11and Intermountain West Corridor the best project for spending our limited transportation dollars?

As part of this study, a thorough analysis was conducted to determine the potential facility’s benefits and costs and determine if there is a business case for implementing the project. This Business Case can be found on the Documents webpage.

How was this study funded?

The I-11 & Intermountain West Corridor Study was funded jointly by NDOT and ADOT through federal allocations and state resources.

Will this create a safer roadway between Phoenix and Las Vegas?

There has been a significant investment to improve theUS93 corridor between Wickenburg, Arizona and Henderson, Nevada. The route, however, still has a low level of access control; many intersecting roads and driveways provide direct access to US 93 thereby reducing safety and efficiency for traffic movement. Along with other multimodal options, this study considered an access-controlled roadway, consisting ultimately of a freeway that has access only at fully-controlled traffic interchanges.

What will be done to limit the impacts on wildlife fragmentation and habitat as well as on wilderness lands?

A detailed environmental analysis will be part of subsequent studies for this Corridor. However, during this preliminary phase, several environmental agencies and organizations were part of the project’s Stakeholder Partners group, helping to identify areas that are not conducive to new or improved transportation facilities, and advising on mitigation measures that can allow the development of new or improved facilities without fragmenting and therefore jeopardizing wildlife habitats. This sort of collaboration has been successful in previous efforts, including ADOT and the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s recent work integrating wildlife crossings with US 93 corridor improvements.

Will this Corridor create urban sprawl?

One of the visions for this Corridor is that it will promote economic development by connecting communities. Throughout this study, the project team collaborated with the communities along the Corridor to understand their growth plans and develop recommendations consistent with those plans.

Will public input be considered in the evaluation of a potential I-11 & Intermountain West Corridor?

Absolutely. Draft study reports were posted on this website for public review and comment received were reviewed and incorporated into final versions. Transportation is personal and every decision that will be made regarding this Corridor affects someone to some degree. Neighborhoods, businesses and the traveling public will benefit or be adversely affected in some way. NDOT and ADOT strongly believe that residents and visitors to their states are their customers and should be given an opportunity to participate in planning and project development.

Stakeholders, residents, the traveling public, businesses and other interested parties are encouraged to communicate their needs, desires and visions for this Corridor so that NDOT and ADOT, in cooperation with its partners, can better meet the transportation needs. A Citizen’s Guide to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is posted on the website and has been developed to help citizens and organizations who are concerned about the environmental effects of federal decision-making to effectively participate in federal agencies’ environmental reviews under NEPA.

Who will ultimately make the decision on where the Corridor would be located?

The I-11 & Intermountain West Corridor Study is a high priority for NDOT and ADOT, which have pooled their resources and joint managed this study; together, the agencies were responsible for approving all study decisions. Corridor decisions regarding the preferred alignment(s) and components of the Corridor will be made in subsequent phases of the project and will follow the process established by NEPA.

How can I get involved?

Staying informed and submitting your comments are great ways to get involved with this project.

Stay Informed:

Review project documents (see “Project Documents” tab on website)

Submit Comments:

Contact either the Nevada Department of Transportation or the Arizona Department of Transportation

 

Updated 10/27/2014