An environmental impact statement has been released looking at the possible construction of a new highway that would connect Nogales, Arizona to the Nevada border.
The project has been long in the talking and planning stage and is regarded as part of a significantly larger trade route that would run from Mexico up into Canada.
As proposed, a new Interstate 11 route, while breaking off from Interstate 10 in the busy west Phoenix area, would primarily be built on mostly vacant desert land and would provide access to the Ryan Airfield, located 14 miles to the southwest of downtown Tucson.
Generally, the new highway would follow Arizona State Route 189 and Interstate 19 from Nogales to Tucson, and run parallel with Interstate 10 from Tucson to Phoenix, and US Route 93 from Wickenburg to the Nevada state line.
The Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement, published by the Arizona Department of Transportation, reports that those vacant areas have “no direct impacts to residential or community facility lands.”
Like many big highway projects, the new Interstate 11 has been touted for years, dating at least to the mid-1990s.
Because the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act in 2015 identified the proposed Interstate 11 as a “high-priority” project, that means it could be eligible for future federal funding.
A final version of the environmental study is expected to be completed by the end of this year, while public comment on the document is being accepted until August 15.
By Garry Boulard
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