I-11: Building what we can now

In response to an article about getting the new I-11 highway done quicker, there are things we can do right now to get the project moving along. First is the Boulder City Bypass. At around $400M total (phase 1 and 2) it is a substantial amount of work, most of which is cutting through the El Dorado mountains east of BC. The good news is that the environmental work is already complete and the first phase of the project is about to get under way. Short of any lawsuits from environmental groups, work on the final design and construction could start pronto.

What we need is about $360M over the course of 3-4 years for a design-build phase 2. But this is a good starting point. Think of this project as the cornerstone to the entire I-11 corridor. While work is done on this project, the next project in the line, the Kingman I-11 & I-40 interchange is already under study and plan to finish their EIS in summer of 2013 be ready for detailed design and construction (pending funding). Smaller work, like replacing at-grade crossings with interchanges and frontage roads, should be packaged along with adjacent major work to reduce the number of times projects have to go out to bid and to consolidate design work. Design-build should be used throughout the project to speed things up (the only thing I don’t like about design build is that things get cut – a ramp from the D-street interchange on I-15 to 95 west was originally in the plans but was removed, and also a ramp from the frontage roads on I-15 to Blue Diamond east was planned but removed in design — both of which were useful to me in my travels).

The entire project, from Las Vegas to Phoenix can take 15 years instead of 30+ if we pipeline these projects together. When one project is in the design phase the next two are in EIS. We don’t need (and certainly won’t get given the current political climate) all 15 projects to start up at once to complete the entire shot in 5-7 years, nor do we need an abridgment of the EPA regulations, what we need is commitment from government and a funding schedule that is reliable. We need money to accomplish this (though I’m no help – I’ve paid $0 in gas taxes since I bought my Chevy Volt over three months ago, currently around 500MPG). We need $250M per year for the next 15 years to get I-11 substantially completed. We need the current Congress to approve this funding roadmap and commit to it, and for future Congresses to keep their damn dirty hands off it.

Good luck with that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *