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2/16/2014 6:00:00 AM
Kingman: Large star in plans for I-11 universe
JC AMBERLYN/Miner
Traffic along the junction of I-40 (foreground and background) and U.S. 93 (on right) on Friday afternoon. The proposed Interstate 11 would include a stretch of both roadways.
JC AMBERLYN/Miner
Traffic along the junction of I-40 (foreground and background) and U.S. 93 (on right) on Friday afternoon. The proposed Interstate 11 would include a stretch of both roadways.

Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter


KINGMAN - Residents interested in the latest reports regarding the proposed Interstate 11 can read a new, comprehensive update and provide a comment online through the end of the month.

Years will pass before concrete is poured, asphalt is used for paving, and bridges and interchanges are constructed. The transportation departments of Arizona and Nevada began the Interstate 11 and Intermountain Corridor Study in the summer of 2012. They are on track to conclude sometime this year, but the process is still in its infancy and huge obstacles remain on a road that hasn't even been built.

So why should people in the Kingman area care?

According to the study's authors, Kingman has a role to play as the city is mentioned often in the latest publication. At 208 pages, the so-called "Level 2 Analysis" discusses possible routes for I-11 and what the authors call the "universe of alternatives." Kingman remains a fairly large star in this particular universe.

The proposed interstate's primary purpose is to link the metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Las Vegas. Passenger and freight rail service that would essentially run parallel to the interstate are part of the plan.

The second, grander purpose is to ultimately link Mexico with Canada, giving the West another north-south corridor, which is badly needed given the growing congestion problems on Interstate 5.

I-5 runs from the U.S. border with Mexico north through California, Oregon and Washington before it reaches the Canadian border. It is the only corridor that runs from border to border in the U.S.

Congress in 2012 designated the future I-11 corridor between Phoenix and Las Vegas and "high-level visioning" for potentially extending the corridor north and south. The designation was included in the latest federal surface transportation bill, known as the Moving Ahead For Progress in the 21st Century Act.

The latest analysis, however, focuses specifically on the route between Phoenix and Las Vegas.

The study touts several advantages the Kingman area brings to the table when it comes to the route. The study's authors note the existing Highway 93 corridor from Kingman to Boulder City, Nev., reduces any impacts of creating a new segment.

They also said the nearby railroad could be used for the multimodal aspect of the study and the existing interchange design at the Interstate 40 and U.S. 93 junction at Beale Street could be utilized.



City benefits

The city would benefit through economic development opportunities on private and state lands east of the current interchange, according to the authors.

Another part of the study notes Kingman could be favorable because the building of an interstate is consistent with the region's local land use plans. The study's authors also said Kingman has existing commerce, such as heavy industrial, commercial and manufacturing, which could be enhanced by another major trade corridor.

The challenges are few but significant, according to the authors, since both private and state land will have to be acquired - no matter what route is chosen - and that "may present challenges to public opinion and concerns from impacted landowners."

Much of the corridor, however, is under federal management.

Kingman "residents and city leaders should be engaged to help identify important design and alignment considerations," said the authors.

There are issues all along the corridor for several communities and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

The Sierra Club has shared "specific concerns" regarding the proposed corridor and wildlife infrastructure might be required to respect historical migration patterns.

Using the I-40 and U.S. 93 junction in Kingman would also limit impact to the Sonoran desert tortoise habitat, said the authors.

While a final plan won't be presented, much less approved, for quite some time, the general idea for the route is that it would overlap and replace existing Interstate-515 in Las Vegas, U.S. 93 from Boulder City to Kingman and east to the interstate's junction with U.S. 93, south to Wickenburg.

South of Wickenburg the interstate would follow a new proposed freeway near the Hassayampa River until it reaches Buckeye roughly 40 miles west of Phoenix and continue until it reaches Arizona State Route 85. From there, the proposed I-11 would essentially bypass Phoenix until it connects to Interstate 10 near Casa Grande.

While the route of the interstate is perhaps the key question in need of an answer today, tomorrow the big question will be more serious: How does it get paid for?



Toll road?

As of today, no funding source has been identified, but the states of Arizona and Nevada are not alone. They have partnered with the Maricopa Association of Governments, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, and the federal Highway and Railroad administrations.

The prospect of I-11 becoming a toll road, a rarity in the West, remains on the table, but that's a question - like most that have to do with the proposal - still years away from being answered.

While the comments that will be accepted through February specifically regard the latest study, comments in general can be made at any time at the same website address by visiting the Get Involved page. Requests to receive updates can be made online, as well.

To read the recently completed Level 2 Analysis and to comment, log on to www.i11study.com.



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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Article comment by: dan becker

I for one do not want to pay for all those gamblers going between PHX and Vegas. It should be a toll road between those two cities.

Posted: Friday, February 21, 2014
Article comment by: Paul Washmen

As far as I-11 it's a boost for Nevada and Arizona. And it will create thousands of High paying union jobs here in nevada. And in Arizona.

Posted: Monday, February 17, 2014
Article comment by: Barney Oldfield

I-11 is a boondoggle. It is really about real estate speculation between I-10 and Wickenburg, and about getting some else to pay for a Boulder City bypass. There is nothing wrong with existing US-93 alignment between Wickenburg and I-40, other than uncompleted 2 to 4 lane segments. And other than the Beale Street /I-40 bottleneck, no problem between Kingman and Boulder City.

Posted: Monday, February 17, 2014
Article comment by: Remmington Bishop

Many people are familiar with the options for the US 93 North/I-40 West (Beale Street Traffic Interchange-TI) options which are out for public comment but why haven't the options under consideration for the US 93 South/I-40 East TI (Round Valley) been made available for public for comment?

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: randy Dawes

On paper this makes perfect sense. But be sure when this happens Kingman will no longer be what it is now. I figure we'll be dead before this comes to fruition.

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: John McNary

Dear Northern Arizona: there ain't no way Interstate 11 will end in Pinal County, dumping all that traffic onto I-10 thru Tucson. Either Kingman comes to realize that, or you can kiss your 40/93 interchange goodbye. With love, Baja Arizona.

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: desert dweller

Yep make it easier for the mexicans to bring up their drugs and oh yeh, vote for the communists in washington on their way back for another load!



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