(LAS VEGAS CBS KXNT) Boulder City’s persistence will pay off, as its long-sought highway around the town officially becomes part of the Interstate 11 project when the federal highway bill is passed. The interstate designation is the first step toward building the bypass, after years of work to win approval of a pilot project featuring a toll road.
Boulder City officials met with initial resistance from the state legislature when they proposed the project, and it wasn’t until they tied the bypass project to plans for the Interstate that they started to win cooperation.
“People started to recognize the economic importance of our phase of the I-11,” Mayor Roger Tobler told KXNT. It became clear that by creating a faster trip between Phoenix and Las Vegas, the whole region would benefit, Tobler said.
Now the bypass will be the first piece of I-11 to be built in Nevada.
The town wanted the bypass to relieve congestion on its two-lane main road, which became so choked each weekend with traffic moving between Las Vegas and Phoenix that sometimes the vehicles backed up all the way to Henderson, Tobler said.
An economic impact study suggested that the bypass would enhance the Las Vegas economy by about 10 percent, according to Tobler. Nonethtless, there is no money attached to the I-11 designation. The town got help in Carson City from state lawmaker Joe Hardy, a one-time member of its city council. Hardy won approval of the tolls, which will help fund the project.
“Because we knew (federal) funding was an issue, and there wasn’t money from the state either, we got the tolling provision approved,” Tobler said.
There’s a study underway to determine how much money the tolling will generate. RTC has projected a 2018 completion date if all elements of the plan go as expected.