ROADS/BRIDGES: Nevada’s Boulder City Bypass project begins

April 13, 2015

Project is considered step one toward what will become I-11

Last week, officials from the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), along with select political leaders, gathered in Boulder City to break ground on a $318 million highway bypass project that will be located near Hoover Dam. The 15-mile project is seen in both Nevada and Arizona as the first part of what will eventually become a new north-south interstate—I-11.

Among those attending the ceremony were Gov. Brian Sandoval, U.S. senators Harry Reid (D-Nv.) and Dean Heller (R-Nv.), and Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau.

“By improving mobility for thousands of drivers each day, the new bypass will greatly improve the ability of Clark County to compete economically,” said Nadeau. “As everyone who has made that commute in the morning, you know anything we can do to shorten the drive from Boulder City to Las Vegas and back again is a good thing.”

The I-11 route was designated in the 2012 MAP-21 law, and it is this same plan that is presently about to come to fruition. Linking Las Vegas and Phoenix for the first time  via interstate highway, I-11 will alleviate the burden presently being held by U.S. 93. Eventually, said project planners, I-11 planners could run from Mexico straight through to Canada.

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), U.S. 93 is a major regional corridor for interstate commerce, carrying as many as 34,000 vehicles per day on certain stretches. When completed in 2018, the Boulder City Bypass will extend from the Hoover Dam Bypass at the Nevada-Arizona border to I-515 in Henderson, Nev., and U.S. 93 will be rerouted to the new bypass once completed.

The FHWA stated the project relies on the federal agency’s Advance Construction program, which would give NDOT the option to be reimbursed up to $291 million, nearly 92% of project-related costs from its future federal highway funding apportionments. The FHWA will also aid the relocation of U.S. 93 to the new bypass and monitor the project so as to meet standards necessary to becoming part of the future I-11 between Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Senator Heller, in a message to Nevada’s Legislature, described the event as a groundbreaking for I-11, vowing to seek federal funding to develop the larger route.  “I-11 is important for our state and important to me,” Heller said. “I am pushing key legislation on I-11 on the Senate floor and am proud to see this project moving closer to become reality … It has the potential to open even more markets for tourism and trade which will improve our economy and create jobs.”

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