Most of the energy spent so far on the Interstate 11 project has focused on the corridor between Phoenix and Las Vegas, the two largest metropolitan areas in the country not connected with an interstate highway.
The Nevada and Arizona departments of transportation started developing vision statements and corridor reports on the highway in mid-2012.
Late in that process, the piece that would have the greatest impact on Southern Nevada residents was unveiled in public meetings — the chunk of I-11 that would run from the northern end of the Boulder City bypass to somewhere north of Las Vegas.
In a recent update on the status of the I-11 project, members of the Regional Transportation Commission were told that some of the public comment has been evaluated and the I-11 corridor through Las Vegas is becoming more defined.
There’s one more big public meeting for local residents to weigh in on the I-11 routing. It will be later this month on June 26 from 4-7 p.m. with a 5:30 p.m. presentation at the Historic Fifth Street School, 401 S. Fourth St.
There’s also an online virtual public meeting from Wednesday through July 18, the official close of public comment, at www.i11.com.
Don’t count on the I-11 route being cast in stone immediately after completion of the study. Sondra Rosenberg, the Nevada Department of Transportation’s I-11 project manager who briefed the commission, said there’s still plenty of research ahead on which of three potential I-11 routings makes the most sense.
Several prospective routes were narrowed to three that would go around or through the city. The prospective routes that have won the most public support:
■ From the point where the northern end of the Boulder City bypass would end — near the Railroad Pass casino — the route, designated Option Y, would use U.S. Highway 95 north to the 215 Beltway, west to approximately Ann Road where a new section of freeway would be built, and north to join U.S. 95 near state Route 157 to Kyle Canyon.
■ A route designated as Option Z would put the route on already existing highways. From Boulder City, it would use U.S. 95 all the way through town. That’s a cheap alternative, since all that wold be required would be to plant a bunch of I-11 signs along the route. But city officials have concerns about routing any new truck traffic through the notoriously congested Spaghetti Bowl.
■ A route that presents the most heartburn to residents of Henderson and the greatest expense, Option BB-QQ, would cut north from U.S. 95 on a new right of way east of Frenchman Mountain all the way to Interstate 15 near Nellis Air Force Base. From there, the route runs south on I-15 to the future Beltway interchange, using the Beltway west to U.S. 95. That’s about 20 miles of new highway and a route that passes through Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Engineers would analyze the impact of traffic on the Beltway-U.S. 95 interchange which will soon be designed.
I-11 is years, maybe decades, from becoming a reality.
But some of the decisions made in the next two years will shape the future of ground transportation between Mexico and Canada.
MORE ON YELLOW LIGHTS
Readers hit the accelerator to chime in on last week’s column addressing the dilemma of whether to speed up to get through an intersection when a traffic signal turns yellow or to brake hard and risk a rear-end collision with a motorist following too closely.
Two state statutes address the problem, with the key takeaways being that motorists are in violation if they enter an intersection after a traffic signal has turned red. A separate statute says motorists break the law if they accelerate to enter an intersection while the light is yellow.
Many readers who responded offered their own experiences, some of them tragic, when they chose to obey the law, only to be rear-ended by a driver behind them who thought they were going to speed through the intersection.
Several readers suggested that those with a tendency to brake at traffic lights rather than speed through them travel in the traditionally slower right lane.
Presumably, that proposal was offered so that all the scofflaws out there could use the faster lanes to the left to break the law.
Another Warrior reader suggested that municipalities upgrade their traffic signals with a countdown sequence to let an approaching motorist know just how much time there is before the yellow light hits.
“I am very comfortable when I see the countdown and dread approaching any intersection that does not have it installed,” he wrote.
Great idea, but at what cost? We’ll explore it in the future.
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