“How we plan for growing our transportation infrastructure is vitally important to the well-being of people and communities across our state,” said Maria Baier, chief executive officer for the Sonoran Institute. “The proposed Interstate 11 – how it is designed and built – is a wonderful opportunity to bring new thinking to the table in a way that would directly benefit the economies and the environment of Arizona and Nevada.”
The current Arizona Highways 60 and 93 that link Phoenix and Las Vegas via Kingman, Arizona are heavily travelled, but in need of major upgrades and modernization. The traffic along the nearly 300-mile stretch is expected to grow, and Dowdy notes that Highways 60 and 93 are among the most dangerous roads in Arizona.
“The Sonoran Institute recognizes the challenge of achieving a balance between economic growth and the preservation of Arizona’s unique natural resources and identity,” says Ian Dowdy, director of the Institute’s Sun Corridor Program based in Phoenix. “The idea of using the proposed Interstate 11 to create a ‘smart’ corridor that would also include rail, telecommunications and energy could position Arizona and Nevada for enormous economic benefits in the future while avoiding substantial environmental harm.”
The report, Proposed Interstate 11 Analysis – Casa Grande to the Mike O’Callaghan and Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, attempts to provide clarity around the issues that should be evaluated in further detail as the
Interstate 11 corridor is evaluated and ultimately selected. In this report, the Sonoran Institute addresses multiple aspects of the I-11 corridor planning process, including:
The importance of embracing a true “multimodal” smart corridor that encompasses highway,rail, utility, data, and other infrastructure in a manner that allows for adaptability and change over time.
The value of utilizing the corridor as a catalyst toward increased renewable energy development.
Opportunities that each segment may bring to the local area.
Environmental, cultural, and social features that should be avoided when determining corridor alignments.
Stakeholders that should be engaged to inform the corridor planning and detailed design.
A qualitative scoring of which alignment segments seem to be better sited or have lower conflict with known resource constraints.
Dowdy indicated that the corridor identified as the “Energy Preferred Alternative” responds well to the evaluation criteria used in the report. “The results however, are not conclusive and will require a detailed analysis in a quantitative way before the best corridor alignment can be selected,” said Dowdy.
About the Sonoran Institute
The Sonoran Institute inspires and enables community decisions and public policies that respect the land and people of western North America. The Institute is a nonprofit organization that is working to shape the future of the West. For more information, visit www.sonoraninstitute.org.