The first step in the Las Vegas to Phoenix route redux is now ready for commuter use. A small stretch, 2.5 miles worth of the new Interstate 11, opened Wednesday, August 16. The update will eventually link Las Vegas and Phoenix with a full-on interstate and is the first new interstate highway in the U.S. since 1992.
Some drivers, who were following GPS on Google or Apple Maps, reported being routed through Lake Mead National Park, which required more travel time and a $20 park entry fee. NDOT is currently working with both companies to correctly register the new routing into their maps systems. The Waze app appears to have updated their system and routed drivers correctly back to U.S. 93. The glitch is expected to be corrected shortly. In the meantime, use WAZE, or follow the signs, which will route you correctly.
Las Vegas to Phoenix
Drivers traveling from Las Vegas to Phoenix have been using U.S. 93 for decades. While U.S. 93 has received some major upgrades over the years, it’s far short of Interstate Highway standards, with slowdowns or even stops in Arizona towns including Kingman, Wikieup, and Wickenburg along the way. Drivers taking this route have to endure long two- and three-lane two-way stretches, which can be unsafe and sometimes slow going.
Las Vegas and Phoenix are the only two cities in the U.S. with populations over one million that are not linked by an interstate highway. As envisioned today, Interstate 11 will eventually stretch from Nogales, Ariz., on the Mexico border, all the way to the northern U.S. border with Canada, routing through Arizona, Nevada, and Idaho.
Boulder City Bypass
But the first phase of the project, and of most interest to Las Vegas residents, is the first section being built now, which, when complete, will bypass Boulder City, and avoid the slow speed limits and stop lights there. Eventually the Boulder City bypass will be about 15 miles long and will stretch along the southern edge of Boulder City and connect back into U.S. 93. The route will be upgraded to interstate standards and will become part of I-11 on the Nevada side of the Mike O’Callahan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. It’s estimated the bypass will improve travel times on the Las Vegas to Phoenix trip by 30 minutes.
I-11 though Las Vegas
How I-11 will be routed through Las Vegas is yet to be determined. Three routes are under consideration by NDOT currently:
- Following U.S. 93/95 to I-215 westbound on the southeast side of town, and linking back to U.S. 93/95 in the northwest valley
- Follow U.S. 93/95 through its current routing through the spaghetti bowl and upgrading U.S. 95 to interstate standards as needed.
- New road through Lake Mead National Recreation Area on the eastside of Frenchman Mountain and connecting to the 215 beltway at I-15 on the north end of town. SR-215 would be upgraded to interstate standards and would become part of I-11.
NDOT is spending $5.3 million to study current freeway routing in Las Vegas, and part of this study will investigate how to best route I-11 through the city.
Ticket Busters Can Assist You If You Get a Ticket
Big changes for traffic flow in Las Vegas are in the planning stages. The Interstate 11 project should allow things to flow more smoothly. As you’re driving in Las Vegas, or anywhere within Clark County, if you get a ticket, call us. We can assist in reducing the charges to the equivalent of a parking ticket, save you points and insurance premium increases. Call us today at (702) 666-6666.