BOULDER CITY – The creation of Interstate 11 (I-11) connecting Las Vegas and Phoenix took a major step forward today as federal, state and local elected officials, Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC), and community and business leaders celebrated the launch of one of the largest state transportation projects in history.
The event marks the launch of construction on I-11 from I-515 to U.S. 93, a landmark project that will support Nevada’s continued economic prosperity through enhanced commerce, increased tourism and improved connectivity between Nevada and Arizona as well as beyond to Canada and Mexico.
The Boulder City High School band, color guard and cheerleaders, along with Las Vegas showgirls kicked off the festivities with a marching parade to the ceremony. Federal, state and local leaders signed their names on a concrete box culvert that will be installed for drainage under the new interstate.
Designated by the federal government as the future highway, I-11 will connect Las Vegas and Phoenix, the only two cities in the nation with populations of more than one million residents not currently linked by an interstate. In addition to significant economic benefit, upon completion, I-11 will relieve congestion and improve safety for the millions of cars and trucks on the road each year travelling between the two metropolitan areas.
“The southwest region has experienced significant economic growth and increased traffic over the past few years, and I-11 is necessary so more people and goods can travel safely and efficiently between Nevada and Arizona, as well as along the entire trade corridor between Canada and Mexico,” stated U.S. Sen. Harry Reid. “Breaking ground on these first 15 miles is a testament to the importance the local, state and federal governments have placed on building transportation infrastructure to support our state’s future and the region’s economic impact.”
For Boulder City, I-11 will relieve traffic congestion that primarily results from heavy commercial trucking en route to and from Arizona. It also will improve the cost and efficiency to move goods through the area. Estimates place the drive time savings at a minimum of 30 minutes from the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge to Henderson due to higher speeds and no traffic backups at signal lights. The saved time is expected to be higher on weekends.
“The construction of I-11 is critical to the continued economic vitality of Nevada,” said Gov. Brian Sandoval who also chairs the State Transportation Board. “By improving traffic flow between Las Vegas and Phoenix and providing relief to congested north-south highways like I-5 and I-15, the new I-11 will spur increased trade and commerce, advancing our economic development initiatives and ensuring we remain globally competitive.”
The construction of the project will cost approximately $318 million and is funded from federal, state and local sources, including Fuel Revenue Indexing. Scheduled for completion in 2018, the project will generate approximately 4,000 jobs in the region.
“Thanks to our local, state and federal partnerships, we are able to construct a historic interstate that will support our state’s future prosperity and create thousands of jobs in an area that has experienced one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation in recent years,” stated State Senator Joe Hardy.
RTC Chairman Larry Brown added, “Backed in part with Fuel Revenue Indexing funds, this project will provide a great return on our investment. Today is a historic day for transportation in Southern Nevada – after all, it is not every day a new interstate breaks ground.”
In addition to Gov. Sandoval, Sen. Reid, Commissioner Brown, and State Sen. Hardy, the event, held across from the Hoover Dam Lodge, included U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, U.S. Reps. Joe Heck and Cresent Hardy, Clark County Commissioner Mary Beth Scow, Boulder City Mayor Roger Tobler, and Federal Highway Administration Acting Administrator Gregory Nadeau.
Construction of the I-11 project will occur in two simultaneous phases coordinated by NDOT and the RTC beginning this spring. NDOT will build the initial $83 million, 2.5-mile of roadway from Silverline Road to Foothill Road, with a full diamond interchange at Railroad Pass. Other NDOT work calls for restoring the a railroad tracks previously severed by U.S. Highway 93 by building a 180-foot-long steel truss bridge that allows the mainline freeway to pass underneath. The RTC will build the $235 million 12.5-mile-long phase two from Railroad Pass to the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge. Work on both phases is made possible through a combination of $291 million in federal funds, $22 million in Fuel Revenue Indexing (FRI) funds, and $5 million in state funding.
Prime contractors are Las Vegas Paving for the RTC (Phase 2) and Fisher Sand & Gravel for NDOT (Phase 1). Subcontractors will include local small businesses and women and minority owned enterprises. For more details on the project, please visit the NDOT or RTC websites.