With six public meetings scheduled in June and an opportunity for the public to contribute in other ways, Arizonans can help shape the next step in planning for the proposed Interstate 11 as the Arizona Department of Transportation moves ahead on a three-year environmental study for a corridor stretching from Nogales to Wickenburg.
Planned as much more than a highway, I-11 is envisioned as a multimodal corridor connecting Arizona with regional and international markets while opening up new opportunities for mobility, trade, job growth and economic competitiveness.
ADOT has opened a 45-day comment period allowing Arizonans to provide input on the I-11 study area, a process known as public scoping. It’s an opportunity to ask questions and share comments about topics such as potential locations for the I-11 corridor, environmental considerations, impact on wildlife habitats or cultural resources, and possible opportunities for other transportation modes, such as rail, that may be considered.
“The progress on the Interstate 11 study shows ADOT’s commitment to establish a key border-to-border corridor and a trade route with Mexico that will continue our state’s efforts to boost commerce, job growth and economic development,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “We have the support of partner agencies throughout the study corridor who realize the benefits that I-11 can bring in terms of competitiveness, regional and global connections, and business opportunities through this new freight and travel route.”
The recommended I-11 corridor would likely follow US 93 from the Hoover Dam bypass bridge south to Wickenburg. The 280-mile corridor that is the focus of the current environmental study begins in Wickenburg and runs west of the Phoenix metropolitan area and then south to the Tucson area and then Nogales.
Publishing a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register, as required under the National Environmental Policy Act, kicks off the formal environmental study process, as ADOT works to prepare a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement to select an I-11 corridor alternative between Nogales and Wickenburg.
Six public meetings are scheduled in the study area:
Wednesday, June 8
Dorothy Powell Senior Adult Center – Dining Room
405 E. Sixth St.
Wednesday, June 15
Buckeye Community Center – Multipurpose Room
201 E. Centre Ave.
Tuesday, June 21
Nogales High School – Cafeteria
1905 N. Apache Blvd.
Wednesday, June 22
Arizona Riverpark Inn
777 W. Cushing St.
Thursday, June 23
Marana Middle School – Gymnasium
11285 W. Grier Rd.
Wednesday, June 29
Wickenburg Community Center
160 N. Valentine St.
All meetings run from 4 to 6:30 p.m., with presentations beginning at approximately 4:15 p.m. The same information will be presented at each meeting.
Those interested in commenting on the study but are unable to attend a public meeting are encouraged to visit the study website at i11study.com/Arizona and complete an online survey. All feedback, questions and comments will be considered part of the study, are entered into the project record and will help shape the proposed I-11 corridor.
In March, ADOT, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, launched the three-year study. Until now, a process called pre-scoping has included meetings with federal, state and local governments, resource agencies and planning organizations within the study corridor.
The first step in the study is developing an Alternatives Selection Report to assess a wide range of corridor alternatives and options, along with opportunities and constraints. A Draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement will evaluate in greater detail a smaller number of corridor alternatives, including segments that may advance as independent improvements or projects. There will be a no-build alterative as well.
Input from the public, communities and other stakeholders will contribute to these two reports, as well as a Final Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement that will list a selected corridor alternative.
In November 2014, the Arizona and Nevada departments of transportation completed a two-year feasibility study as the first step in the Interstate 11 process. In December 2015, Congress formally designated Interstate 11 from north to south in Arizona through the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act. While the designation doesn’t include funding, it does make the corridor eligible for federal funding in the future.
During the next three years, the public, communities and other stakeholders will have opportunities to comment through regular meetings, community events and other forums. Right now, comments can be sent to:
Interstate 11 Tier 1 EIS Study Team
c/o ADOT Communications
1655 W. Jackson St., Mail Drop 126F
Phoenix, AZ 85007