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Funding Not Keeping Up with I-11 Plans

Traffic is backed up at I-40 and Beale Street, near Coyote Pass in Kingman. Photo credit: JC Amberlyn/Daily Miner

By Hubble Ray Smith for Daily Miner

The future of Interstate 11 boils down to funding, including $88M to build an interchange at U.S. Highway 93 and Interstate 40 in Kingman – and that’s not going to happen any time soon, Arizona Department of Transportation district engineer Mike Kondelis said.

The existing interchange doesn’t have the capacity to support daily traffic and is the last remaining bottleneck in the I-11 corridor, which would connect Phoenix to Las Vegas and become a major trade route from Mexico to Canada.

During peak hours, an estimated 1,045 vehicles make the turn from U.S. 93 onto eastbound I-40, with cars and trucks often backed up to Coyote Pass. About 950 vehicles exit I-40 onto northbound U.S. 93.

The long-term plan is to build a new road from I-40 just past Clack Canyon to the north, traveling behind businesses and homes and joining back with U.S. 93 at Coyote Pass, Kondelis said during a March 16 presentation.

In the meantime, ADOT plans to add a free-flow, right-turn lane from I-40 westbound onto U.S. 93 northbound, as well as a “trap” right-turn lane from Beale Street onto I-40 eastbound. The lane would be closed to through traffic underneath the freeway.

ADOT’s traffic model predicts that the proposed improvements will result in acceptable intersection levels of service through 2026.

The goal is to have a modern highway between Phoenix and Las Vegas, the longest stretch (nearly 300 miles) between two major U.S. cities without an interstate.

Widening U.S. 93

ADOT started a $12.5M project in February to widen U.S. 93 north of Wickenburg to four lanes, with completion expected in 2016.

Safety has been the driving force behind a series of ADOT projects to convert U.S. 93 into a divided four-lane highway, Kondelis said.

Since 1998, ADOT has invested about $350M to upgrade the U.S. 93 corridor, which runs from Kingman to the Nevada state line and from Wickenburg to I-40. A 23-mile segment of I-40 east of Kingman connects U.S. 93 north and south.

Kondelis said I-11 has a number of possible routes south of Phoenix to Nogales, but the route will remain the same north to Las Vegas.

There’s been a lot of talk about the Boulder City bypass and it’s going to become a reality soon, he added. The $283M project is expected to break ground in April.

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