Against a stunning view of Lake Mead at a new scenic overlook, elected officials joined Southern Nevada residents, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) and the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), to celebrate the historic opening of the first 15 miles of Interstate-11.
Pictured above: Clark County Commissioner and RTC Chairman Larry Brown, Boulder City Mayor and RTC board member Rod Woodbury, FHWA Director of Field Services West Peter Osborn, Metro Chamber of Commerce President Mary Beth Sewald, Nevada State Senator Joe Hardy, Paula Mendenhall, Clark County Commissioner and RTC board member Chris Giunchigliani, Clark County Commissioner Jim Gibson, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, U.S. Senator Dean Heller and RTC General Manager Tina Quigley at the I-11 grand opening in Boulder City, Nev.
The $318 million project at the Nevada-Arizona border is the first step to connect Las Vegas with Phoenix and eventually create a major trade route between Mexico and Canada. Las Vegas and Phoenix are the only cities with more than 1 million residents not connected by an interstate highway.
The new interstate, which broke ground in 2015, starts with the recently opened NDOT phase of 2.5 miles from I-515 in Henderson to U.S. 93 at the Railroad Pass Hotel and Casino interchange. It then continues with RTC’s phase of 12.5 miles that winds around Boulder City to connect at the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge.
The second phase of the 15-mile interstate opened to motorists Thursday afternoon after the grand opening celebration.
To set the tone for the event, Boulder City High School marching band and cheer team, along with the Vegas Golden Knights drumbots and Golden Aces cheerleaders welcomed the attendees’ arrival at the scenic overlook.
I-11 in Southern Nevada will relieve congestion in Boulder City, where 34,000 vehicles pass through the area daily with traffic signals and congestion near the historic downtown area. The new four-lane interstate, with higher speeds and no traffic backups at traffic signals, will reduce travel time by up to 30 minutes from the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge to Henderson, while also improving safety and freight movement.
Clark County Commissioner and RTC Chairman Larry Brown hosted the event, attended by more than 500 residents and numerous leaders, including Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Director of Field Services West Peter Osborn, U.S. Senator Dean Heller, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Congresswoman Dina Titus, Congressman Ruben Kihuen, Nevada State Senator Joe Hardy, Clark County Commissioner Jim Gibson, Boulder City Mayor and RTC board member Rod Woodbury, and Metro Chamber of Commerce President Mary Beth Sewald.
“This is a great day for Boulder City and its future,” said Mayor Woodbury. “Boulder City’s section of I-11 has the distinction of being the first leg in the CANAMEX corridor linking Las Vegas to Phoenix and ultimately Canada to Mexico. More than 300 Boulder City residents got an advance experience of walking, running and biking on I-11 in June and the response was extremely positive and encouraging.”
In Nevada, NDOT is researching routes and gathering input from residents on the future I-11 corridor from Las Vegas.
State officials envision I-11 heading from northwest Las Vegas along an upgraded U.S. 95 to Tonopah. NDOT is reviewing four options using a mix of existing roadways and new traffic lanes leading up to I-80 in northern Nevada. The options were discussed in a series of statewide meetings in March. They are under evaluation and results will be presented at the next round of meetings.
“We are excited and pleased to see this phase completed and especially the collaboration with the RTC and Boulder City to complete each phase ahead of schedule,” said NDOT Director Randy Malfabon. “We look forward to the next phase of I-11 in Nevada and what it will contribute to our economy going forward.”
Meanwhile, federal and Arizona officials are in the environmental review process for the I-11 corridor from Nogales in the south to Wickenburg in the north.
“Today puts us one step toward closing the interstate gap between Las Vegas and Phoenix and creating a connection that will forever change the Intermountain West region,” said Brown. “One day, when I-11 stretches to Canada to the north and Mexico to the south, it will be remembered that it all started right here in Boulder City, Nevada.”
The inaugural I-11 project was funded with $249.2 million in federal funds, $5 million of state funding, and nearly $63.8 million in Clark County Fuel Revenue Indexing (FRI) funds.