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Keeping An Eye On I-11, Part One

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By Brittany Cooper

Las Vegas, Nevada ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) You've heard of I-5 and I-15, but what about I-11?

Chances are the I-11 corridor hasn't traveled into your thought process just yet.

Congress designated I-11 as the future interstate between Phoenix and Las Vegas.

But there's potential for extensions of the corridor, all the way to Canada and down to Mexico with, perhaps, implications on Idaho.

A connecting freeway between Las Vegas and Phoenix has the support of the states' governors.

In fact, they unveiled I-11 corridor signs in March.

The intent of I-11 is to be a thoroughfare from Mexico to Canada.

This will enhance the trade route, according to North American free trade agreement plans.

The Arizona and Nevada Departments of Transportation are working together on the two year I-11 and Intermountain West Corridor study.

A question that remains, which road do you take leaving Las Vegas, and would you enter through southern Idaho?

"There's two or three avenues they're looking at right now. US 95 is the preferred route that the Nevada Department of Transportation and the Arizona Department of Transportation have designated as the preferred route, which goes from Las Vegas to Reno," explains James Garza, White Pine County, Nevada.

Garza is the Director of Community and Economic Development in White Pine County, Nevada, which includes the town of Ely.

Garza says the preferred route should be US 93, running from Las Vegas through Twin Falls.

Representatives from White Pine met with local officials in Twin Falls last month.

"Since then, we've decided we’d like to send a letter of support for the Highway 93 route, and so at this time, the Transportation Committee, the local Transportation Committee, has decided to create that letter. As soon as we get that, we are going to follow up with our own letters of support," says George Urie, Twin Falls County Commissioner.

"The reason behind our thought pattern is the project itself would be a minimum savings of $6 billion. If you go from Las Vegas to Reno, then you have to go from Reno to hit I-5 in Eugene, Oregon, you have a tremendous amount of obstacles... Once you hit Twin Falls, you have I-84 that shoots to the west, straight to Portland and once you hit Portland, you can go to Seattle and Vancouver. But another potential benefit by utilizing US 93, you also have I-86 that heads east and also hits I-15 through Idaho into Montana, up into Calgary," Garza explains.

A long-range project that's still in the early stages.

Friday we'll discuss the potential impact of Interstate 11 on southern Idaho and the obstacles currently in place.


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