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Highway routes narrowed to two

The options for a proposed interstate linking Las Vegas and Phoenix have been narrowed down to two. One, above, follows U.S. 93 north from Wickenburg to Chicken Springs Road to Alamo Road, connects with Interstate 40 near Yucca and then heads north on U.S. 93 to the Hoover Dam bypass. The other, below, stays with U.S. 93 until it reaches I-40, goes through Kingman, and then returns to U.S. 93.

KINGMAN - The Arizona and Nevada Departments of Transportation have narrowed the path of the new Interstate 11 to two possible routes.

Michael Kies, from ADOT, made the announcement during a public meeting Wednesday evening at the Mohave County Public Works building.

Both routes use U.S. 93 from Wickenburg to Hoover Dam as a major connection between the two major cities, he said.

The first possible route follows U.S. 93 to Interstate 40 through Kingman and north to the Mike O'Callaghan/Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge above Hoover Dam.

The second route follows U.S. 93 north from Wickenburg to Chicken Springs Road to Alamo Road, connects with Interstate 40 near Yucca and then heads north on U.S. 93 to the Hoover Dam bypass.

Both routes are near existing highways and railroad lines, Kies said.

NDOT and ADOT are hoping to make the new interstate a multipurpose route that would make it easier to ship goods by either train or truck and provide a pathway for power and communication lines. The departments are also looking to include a high-speed commuter train in the mix.

The idea is to provide one large trade corridor that would enhance the flow of traffic and trade from the Mexico border to all of the Western states and Canada, he said. It would also relieve some of the pressure on other north/south routes in California, such as Interstate 5 and Interstate 15.

The route would also attract businesses that thrive on trade and transport services, providing new jobs for the area, Kies said, while offering a faster, safer route for tourists and motorists.

Kies said the project is still in the study phase. Arizona, Nevada and the federal government have to study the economic and environmental impact each possible route would have on the area, take traffic measurements and determine the cost of each route.

One resident at the meeting pointed out that the Chicken Springs Road route offered more private land, which could be sold to businesses that might want to build along the new interstate. The other route is bordered by several large sections of state land.

Another resident noted that the proximity of the new interstate to Las Vegas could also work in Mohave County's favor. Many businesses hold conventions in Las Vegas. The state could entice businesses from Silicon Valley in California to open satellite facilities along the new interstate and then people could travel to Las Vegas for conferences or fun.

Kies said Arizona and Nevada hope to have the study finished and back to the public by June. Once the study is finished and approved, the departments will have to seek funding from the Arizona, Nevada and federal governments.

He said they don't expect to get funding for the project right away. Both states have seen a dramatic decrease in the amount of funding they get from their legislatures and the federal governments over the last 10 years. At the same time, the cost of materials has nearly tripled.

Kies said both states, the economic development agencies in both states and the federal government have provided funding for the study. He expects that both state legislatures and the federal government will provide some funding to build the project. However, he didn't have a dollar figure on how much the project would cost.

Once the funding is in place, it will take 10 to 15 years to complete construction, Kies said.

For more information on the project or to leave a comment, visit www.i11study.com, or contact Kies at (602)712-8140 or mikes@azdot.gov.

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