When it comes to Interstate Highways, Arizona is pretty easy to figure out. We have Interstate 40, Interstate 10, and Interstate 8 running east and west, and Interstate 17 and Interstate 19 running north and south. In the far northwestern corner of the state, a small 30-mile stretch of Interstate 15 links Nevada and Utah. And that's pretty much it!
However, the Arizona Department of Transportation and Nevada Department of Transportation are currently working together on a study that will determine the feasibility of building a new Interstate highway that would link Phoenix and Las Vegas. If built, the new highway would be called Interstate 11.
Phoenix and Las Vegas are the two largest cities in America that are not currently linked by an Interstate highway. There is a need to provide a high-speed route between these two cities as their populations continue to grow.
The current route, US 93, has been converted to a divided highway in many places, but still contains long stretches where it is a two-lane highway.
Interstate highways take a lot of planning. A two-year study began in August 2012 and is expected to wrap up in July 2014. The final report will include proposed routes, alternate routes, and studies of the economic and environmental impacts of each route on the cities they would pass through.
My opinion is that what is likely to happen is that US 93 from Wickenburg to Boulder City, Nevada will be widened and become the main stretch of Interstate 11.
But the vision for Interstate 11 is much grander than just linking Phoenix and Las Vegas. The freeway will likely be continued along US 95 on the Nevada-California border to Reno, and from there may branch out to a number of different cities including Boise City, Spokane, or Portland.
It will be a very long time before construction begins and it may take decades to finish the project once it begins. At any rate, we wanted to fill you in on the Interstate 11 project. We'll keep you updated if any new information becomes available!