The next big collaboration coming to Southern Nevada isn’t a star-studded residency (sorry, Reba, Brooks and Dunn); it’s an interstate. The Nevada Department of Transportation and the Regional Transportation Commission are teaming up to bring you a 15-mile stretch linking Nevada and Arizona through a Boulder City bypass. The $318 million project, which could be the start of Interstate 11, broke ground April 6 and is expected to be completed in 2018. NDOT spokesman Tony Illia talks about the road ahead, and how it will affect drivers.
What areas does this new stretch of roadway connect, and why is it important?
This is the first step in establishing an interstate link between Phoenix and Las Vegas—the two largest cities in the country that aren’t connected by an interstate. The idea is that there will eventually be an interstate going from Mexico through Arizona, through Nevada, all the way up to Canada to provide a more efficient movement of trucks and goods between those three countries.
NDOT is going to build the first 2½ miles, and the RTC is going to build the remaining 12½ miles. Both phases are going to be built simultaneously. It’s going to create a four-lane interstate that connects to the Hoover Dam Bridge and reaches Silverline Road [in Henderson near U.S. 95/93]. It’ll create a frontage road, a full diamond interchange coming up Railroad Pass and a scenic-view parking area by Lake Mead.
What can drivers expect during construction?
As part of our contract, we’re required to keep lanes of traffic open in both directions. There will be some disruption, but we’re trying to mitigate that. Some of the work is going to take place at night during off-traffic hours. That’s partly why we’re working on both phases simultaneously, to get this thing done as soon as possible.
How will Las Vegans benefit from this new bypass?
Between the two [phases], we anticipate roughly 4,000 jobs, both direct and indirect… [Once completed], it’s going to save roughly 30 minutes in travel time. Anyone who has had to travel that stretch and go through Boulder City knows that it can get backed up pretty badly. This will create a direct link. There’ll be no stoplights.