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I-11 construction said to be key in southern NV's economic future | News

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I-11 construction said to be key in southern NV's economic future
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Photo Credit: NDOT

LAS VEGAS -- Interstate 11 has been touted as one of the keys to Southern Nevada's economic future, and on Monday, construction to build a portion of the $318 million road will begin near the Hoover Dam.

The Nevada portion is only about 15 miles long, but economists and transportation officials say those 15 miles will pave a strong economic future when it connects Las Vegas to Phoenix.

"Interstate 11 is without question the largest public works project that we have ever been involved with,” said Larry Brown, Clark County Commissioner, RTC Chairman.

The project managed by RTC and NDOT will bring a second interstate into Las Vegas when it loops south of Boulder City, connecting with the Hoover Dam bypass. It will eventually follow US 93 to Phoenix and three other interstate highways.

"It opens up the door to all the goods and all the manufacturing opportunities in Guaymas; in the state of Sonora; in the port in Hermasillo and any other place where there's huge manufacturing happening,” said Tom Skancke, CEO of Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance.

So who's picking up the tab for I-11; that's probably the question at the forefront of every taxpayer's mind? The bulk of the construction cost -- $291 million -- is coming from the federal government. Twenty-two million will come from fuel revenue index funds, while Nevada pays $5 million.

However, NDOT said the project is expected to generate 4,000 short-term construction-related jobs. Economist say the interstate's venture into Phoenix will make Las Vegas more attractive to industries that would normally choose to develop elsewhere.

Business leaders say it could lead to more developments like the Apex Business Park in North Las Vegas.

"We can grow sectors like manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, as well as expand mining,” said Cara Clarke, Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Tom Skancke, the CEO of Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance says, "If you look at Las Vegas with Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Reno, L.A., San Diego and San Francisco -- Las Vegas is that western hub of global connectivity for the entire western economy."

Experts say I-11 will eventually be a key part of the Canamex Corridor and an interstate link between Canada and Mexico with Las Vegas centered almost right in the middle.

"Mexico is a huge economy, and we don't have access to that on a two lane road,” Skancke said.

Long-term plans for Interstate 11 also include extending the interstate north to Reno before possibly heading even farther north to Canada. However, that will take many more years of planning, and cost billions of dollars.

Interstate 11 is expected to be completed from the valley to the Hoover Dam by 2018.

Photo Credit: NDOT
Photo Credit: NDOT
Photo Credit: NDOT
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