The Arizona Department of Transportation recently committed another $155 million for improvements to US 93 over the next five years as it aims to turn it into part of “freeway corridor” known as Interstate 11 that will link Phoenix directly to Las Vegas.
“ADOT has spent years investing in the future Interstate 11 and laying the foundation for this border-to-border highway,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said in a statement. “We’re putting the pieces together today for what I-11 will be in the future. These substantial and continuing investments show our commitment to a corridor that is essential for commercial and recreational travel and also to making Arizona a better place to live and work.”
That $155 million is latest installment of more than $500 million spent over the last 20 years to build a four-lane divided highway between Phoenix and Las Vegas. It also follows the recent investment of $400 million by the Federal Highway Administration in Nevada’s portion of I-11, which helped the Nevada Department of Transportation in partnership with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada complete the “first phase” of the freeway’s construction.
In addition to the completed and planned improvements to US 93, a $134 million ADOT project beginning next year will upgrade State Route 189; the 3.75-mile Nogales highway connecting Interstate 19 with the Mariposa Port of Entry – a route essential to trade between Arizona and Mexico, the state’s largest international trading partner, the agency noted.
As I-11 comes closer to reality in Arizona, ADOT said US 93 would be upgraded to interstate highway standards, including creating traffic interchanges. Currently all but 39 miles of the 200-mile drive from Wickenburg to the Nevada state line has been upgraded to a four-lane divided highway the agency added, with the entire 68-mile northern segment of US 93 from Kingman to the Nevada state line now a four-lane divided highway following the completion of a $71 million project in 2010.
ADOT said is currently funding and conducting an environmental study to identify a potential 2,000-foot wide corridor for I-11 between Nogales and Wickenburg. The Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement, required by the National Environmental Policy Act, is expected to be complete in late 2019 or early 2020. Tier 2 environmental studies would be required to narrow a corridor into a specific freeway alignment if the build option is selected as part of the Tier 1 study.
“Interstate freeways are Arizona’s Key Commerce Corridors, the foundation moving commerce and connecting friends and families,” Halikowski said. “To remain competitive in the ever-evolving global marketplace, our transportation infrastructure must advance with our state’s needs. That’s what’s behind ADOT’s ongoing commitment to advancing US 93 and the concept of Interstate 11.”