In a move to ensure that the Interstate 11 and Inter-mountain West Corridor Study continues to move forward, the State Transportation Board has approved the next step in the process and the funding to make it happen. The board recently approved $15 million for the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement, which would allow the Arizona Department of Transportation to begin an environmental study in the area between Nogales and Wickenburg, part of the proposed corridor for Interstate 11. The Tier 1 EIS is expected to take three years to complete. Interstate 11, once fully constructed, will connect Nogales and Las Vegas, extending north through Nevada, potentially reaching as far as Canada. “Interstate 11 is a key transportation corridor to ensure our state’s competitiveness, economic growth and opportunity for all Arizonans,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “Now that the two-year feasibility study is complete, we must keep the momentum going and move to the next phase, which is the necessary environmental work. These are the first steps in developing a new multimodal freight corridor and a manufacturing belt that will drive trade, commerce, job growth and economic development while facilitating Arizona’s strong connections to major regional and international markets.” The $15 million in funding for the environmental study will come from the 2015-2019 Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program. In October, the board reviewed and accepted the recommendations documented in the Corridor Concept Report, the final element in the initial two-year feasibility study. The report, along with all the study’s documents and information, can be found at i11study.com. The recommended I-11 corridor would likely follow US 93 from the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge south to Wickenburg, running west of the Phoenix metropolitan area, through the Tucson area to Nogales and the Mexican border. I-11 is envisioned as a continuous high-capacity trade corridor extending from Nogales to Las Vegas and potentially north toward Canada. The corridor will support a high proportion of large-scale manufacturing operations and focus on the reliable movement of freight traffic. As a multimodal corridor, I-11 also has the potential to include freight and passenger rail, energy transmission and other high-tech facilities.
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