An estimated five million people a year travel from the Phoenix metropolitan area to southern Nevada. And in just a few months travelers will be burning rubber on Interstate 11, which is a brand new freeway.
8 News NOW Reporter Patrick Walker road along with the freeway’s project manager, for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes preview of the brand new interstate alignment around Boulder City.
Interstate 11’s project manager, Jared Wagstaff, says he has driven the road more times than he can count since construction started about three years ago.
“There were no roadways; there weren’t any jeep trails, there was nothing up in through this mountain; these mountains,” Wagstaff said.
From the U.S. 95 junction south of Boulder City, I-11 winds technically, it’s really south as it stretches across dry lake beds into the Foothills of the El Dorado Mountains, and through a new pass overlooking lake mead.
All along the new alignment of I-11, the views are very impressive, that even includes at the scenic overlook, which is still under construction, where you have a great view of Lake Mead from the southbound lanes.
Construction crews blasted six million cubic tons of rock and dirt and used all of that to construct the rest of the interstate.
Now, all but just a few hundred yards of the interstate have been paved. All that’s left is to connect it to U.S. 93, which is not far from the Mike O’Callaghanpat Tillman Memorial Bridge over the Colorado River.
“This is the last tie-in that we have,” said Wagstaff. “The last major section of roadwork that we’re completing.”
The construction of I-11 hasn’t been an easy feat. It’s the first new interstate built since 1992, and it’s a freeway through national park land.
“It’s through the raw land; in the mountains, and as a nation, we just don’t do that kind of work anymore,” Wagstaff said.
The project’s scheduled to wrap up in October, but RTC officials say it’s several months ahead of schedule, which is a point of pride for the men and women rushing to finish the freeway.
“This is our last big push, and we’re excited to be getting close to opening the roadway,” said Wagstaff.
The entire 15 mile stretch of Interstate 11 is nearly $320 million.
The RTC managed phase two around Boulder City, about 12 1/2 half miles long. The costs is $235 million.