By Kevin Reagan for Casa Grande Dispatch
There are 11 regions in the United States currently defined as megapolitan. The Arizona Sun Corridor, stretching from Phoenix to Nogales, is one of these geographical behemoths and it’s said to be lacking the infrastructure to accommodate all of its economic potential.
Population in the Sun Corridor is projected to grow by 82.5 percent in the 30 years ending in 2030, which is well over double the national rate. People are flowing in, but infrastructure has not been keeping pace.
That’s where Interstate 11 is intended to come to the rescue. The proposed transportation corridor would connect Las Vegas to the Mexican border, thus opening up a north-south trade route that would extend to Canada.
Ground was broken on the first 15-mile chunk of the freeway in Boulder City, Nevada, earlier this year. However, the pathway connecting Phoenix to Mexico has yet to be decided and likely won’t be for the next few years.
The Arizona Department of Transportation will launch an environmental impact study soon to determine the best location for a 2,000-foot-wide corridor within southern Arizona. The route is projected to cut somewhere through western Pinal County down to Tucson.
Interstate 11 could potentially create an alternative route that wraps around Phoenix’s congested freeways and guarantees a more accurate time frame for deliveries.
ADOT estimates $431B worth of freight deliveries are projected to pour into Arizona from California by 2040. This type of economic activity could bring in 240,000 new jobs, though these estimates assume trade in the Asia Pacific region remains positive as it’s been in the last couple of decades.
An ADOT study revealed the new interstate could boost Arizona’s presence in different business sectors such as biotechnology, renewable energy, and health care.
It won’t be until ADOT completes its impact study three years from now until southern Arizona will have a better idea where Interstate 11 could be positioned. This prolonged timeline does not seem to curb the excitement community leaders have at the prospect of Arizona becoming a mega center for commerce and development.
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