Motorists commuting between Las Vegas and Arizona will soon get some relief when the first 15-mile portion of Interstate 11 opens to traffic three months ahead of schedule.
The 12.5-mile stretch of new roadway between Henderson and the O’Callaghan-Tillman Bridge near Hoover Dam will open in July instead of the original October date to complete the initial 15 miles of the $318 million project. Construction began in 2015 on the joint venture between the Nevada Department of Transportation and the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.
“Our joint venture allowed us to be more efficient and reach substantial completion of the project in July 2018.,” said Tina Quigley, RTC general manager, in a statement. “We will open the interstate to the traveling public in late July but will continue to work on miscellaneous items for quality assurance until final completion in October. We are truly proud of this project and its benefits that will help relieve congestion, improve safety and enhance trade and commerce between Nevada and Arizona.”
The stretch of I-11 allows motorists — including tractor-trailers — to bypass Boulder City by cutting through the Eldorado Mountains to eliminate the need to go through the city, where traffic backs up on U.S. 93.
“The initial 15-mile segment of I-11 will improve motorist safety and convenience while reducing travel time by 30 minutes with a direct link that has higher travel speeds and no signal lights,” said Tony Illia, NDOT spokesperson.
The 2.5-mile stretch from Foothill Drive in Henderson and Silverline Road in Boulder City, which features a full diamond interchange at Railroad Pass, has been opening in segments since last fall and will be fully open before the end of the month. Construction crews are putting on the final touches, installing traffic control devices and placing pavement markings.
I-11 will ultimately connect Las Vegas and Phoenix, which are the only two cities in the U.S. with more 1 million people not linked by an interstate. The Arizona Department of Transportation said it is in the early environmental impact study process regarding I-11 construction.
The final goal is an uninterrupted interstate link between Mexico, Canada and the U.S.
The project plays a key role in serving the mountain west region, which is expected to add 32 million residents between now and 2030, according to NDOT.