Interstate 11

Last updated

I-11 (NV).svg

Interstate 11
Purple Heart Highway
Route information
Maintained by NDOT
Length22.845 mi [1] (36.765 km)
Existed2017 [2] –present
Major junctions
South endUS 93.svg US 93 at Arizona state line
North endI-215.svgI-515.svgUS 93.svgUS 95.svgNevada 564.svg I215 / I515 / US 93 / US 95 / SR 564 in Henderson
Counties Clark
Highway system
  • Highways in Nevada
US 6.svg US 6 NV I15 I-15.svg

Interstate 11 (I-11) is a north-south Interstate Highway tentatively planned to run from Nogales, Arizona, to the vicinity of Reno, Nevada, generally following the current routes of Interstate 19 (I-19), I-10, U.S. Route 93 (US 93) and US 95. [3] Currently, the only open section of I-11 is a 22.845-mile-long (36.765 km) freeway running predominantly northwestsoutheast in the U.S. state of Nevada that currently follows US 93 between the Arizona state line and Henderson. Planners anticipate upgrading two existing highway segments to carry future I-11: US 93 in Arizona from Wickenburg to the Nevada state line on the Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge over the Colorado River and US 95 in Nevada from the Las Vegas Valley to Tonopah. Outside of these sections, an alignment for I-11 has yet to be determined; however, a number of corridor alternatives have been identified for further study and refinement.


As originally proposed in the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, the highway would only run from Casa Grande, Arizona, to Las Vegas. [4] This was to provide a direct Interstate link between the Las Vegas and Phoenix metropolitan areas, which are currently the two largest adjacent American cities lacking a direct freeway link. However, extensions of the corridor to the north towards Reno and to the south towards Nogales, Arizona have since been approved by the 2015 Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act.

The proposed numbering of this highway does not currently fit within the usual conventions of the existing Interstate Highway grid as, it is east of I-15 and should therefore have a number greater than 15. However, I-17 was already built to the east of the I-11 alignment in Arizona, making it impossible to fit this freeway's interstate number into the national grid and remain within the traditional numbering convention. The subsequent plan to extend the Interstate north of Las Vegas to Reno would, if constructed, put that portion of I-11 west of I-15 and thus in line with the national grid numbering conventions.

The 80th session of the Nevada Legislature passed a bill designating the entire route of I-11 in the state as the Purple Heart Highway which went into effect on July 1, 2019. [5] [6]

Route description


The southern terminus of the freeway would be at Interstate 19 Business Loop in Nogales, Arizona concurrent with that of I-19 proper, or follow Arizona State Route 189 from its intersection with I-19 to the Mariposa Port of Entry where it continues south as Mexican Federal Highway 15D, creating a Nogales, Arizona/Nogales, Sonora Metro Area Bypass for high-density CANAMEX Corridor traffic. The freeway would then join I-10 in Tucson and continue to Casa Grande. [3]

At or near the interchange with I-8 and I-10 in Casa Grande, the freeway would split from I-10 and travel in a generally westward and then northward direction as a bypass route around the Phoenix metropolitan area. [7] Two general corridor alternatives have been identified for this bypass section. One recommended alternative would have the highway running concurrently with I-8 west to Gila Bend, turning north to its interchange with I-10 in Buckeye or Tonopah. [8] The second recommended alternative would have the highway run concurrently with I-8 east to an intersection with either Loop 303 or the Hassayampa Freeway, and then follow some combination of those highways, Arizona State Route 30, or AZ 85 to an intersection with I-10 in or near Buckeye. [8]

The Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, a completed alignment of I-11 near Hoover Dam in 2010 Hoover Dam Bypass - 2010-12-09 - Nevada.JPG
The Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, a completed alignment of I-11 near Hoover Dam in 2010

North of I-10 in Buckeye or Tonopah, the study has identified a general corridor roughly parallel to the Hassayampa River with two more specific corridor alignments. The first would create a new highway running north to the US 60/SR 74 intersection in Morristown before turning northwest to run concurrently with US 60 to its intersection with US 93 in Wickenburg, thereafter running concurrently with US 93 to the northwest. The second alignment would follow the alignment of the Hassayampa Freeway as proposed by the Maricopa Association of Governments to an intersection with US 93 northwest of Wickenburg in Yavapai County. [8]

The highway would then run concurrently with US 93 through northern Arizona, including a concurrency with I-40 in and near Kingman. The highway would then cross the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge into Nevada.


In Nevada, the highway currently begins at the Arizona state line on the Hoover Dam Bypass, then runs along the 15-mile (24 km) Boulder City Bypass around Boulder City, which opened on August 9, 2018. It is signed concurrently with US 93 throughout. At mile 14, I-11 intersects and joins with US 95 heading north. [8] Continuing northwest, the highway runs along a former 5-mile (8.0 km) section of I-515 around Henderson before currently ending at the Henderson Spaghetti Bowl interchange with I-215 and SR 564.

I-11 sign in Henderson with US 93/US 95 shields in 2018 I-11 Shield.jpg
I-11 sign in Henderson with US 93/US 95 shields in 2018

Three alternative corridors have been identified for the highway's route through the Las Vegas Valley. The first would have the highway running west and then north along the Las Vegas Beltway around the core of the metropolitan area. The highway would leave the route of the Beltway in northwestern Las Vegas, heading northward to a point at or near the junction of US 95 and State Route 157 (Kyle Canyon Road). [8] The second alternative has the highway following I-515/US 93/US 95 to downtown Las Vegas, then running concurrently with US 95 northwest to SR 157. [8] The third alternative leaves US 93/US 95 near Railroad Pass and runs north along a new route east of the Las Vegas Valley to a new interchange with I-15/US 93 between Apex and North Las Vegas. The highway would then run concurrently with I-15/US 93 to the southwest until the intersection with the Las Vegas Beltway in North Las Vegas, then following the beltway west to an intersection with US 95 and finally running northwest concurrently with US 95 to SR 157. [8]


As recently as 1997, US 93 was mostly a two-lane road between Wickenburg and Hoover Dam, and was known for its dangerous curves and hills in the stretch between Wickenburg and I-40. In the late 1990s, ADOT began widening US 93 to four lanes, and in some areas building a completely new roadway. In other places along the route, ADOT simply repaved the old highway and built two new lanes parallel to it. ADOT also began studying the possibility of adding grade separations to US 93 near the Santa Maria River to make the road a full freeway.

At the same time Nevada [9] and Arizona began looking at US 93's crossing of Hoover Dam, a major bottleneck for regional commerce, with hairpin turns, multiple crosswalks for pedestrians and steep grades. Plans for a bridge to bypass the dam became even more urgent when the road was closed to trucks after 9/11 in 2001, forcing commercial traffic to detour through Bullhead City, Arizona and Laughlin, Nevada, causing major transport delays as a result.

With the completion of the Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge on October 14, 2010, [10] the vast majority of the roadway is now a four-lane divided highway. Still, with Phoenix and Las Vegas as the two largest neighboring cities in the United States not connected by Interstate Highway, leaders in both cities lobbied to include I-11 in the next Transportation Equity Act reauthorization. With the rise of the concept of "megapolitan" urban regions, I-11 is considered a key connector to unify the triangle formed by Las Vegas, Phoenix, and the Los Angeles area (the triangle consisting of I-15 to the north/west, I-10 to the south and I-11 on the east). [11] The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved NDOT's environmental review of a bypass around Boulder City, which would connect the end of the recently constructed Hoover Dam Bypass bridge east of Boulder City to I-515 west of the town. [12]

In December 2013, University of Nevada, Las Vegas researchers discovered naturally occurring asbestos in the route of the Boulder City bypass. Containing the asbestos and monitoring the surrounding air to keep workers safe was estimated to cost at least an additional 12 million dollars. [13] Work was completed without any OSHA incidents, with 14,000 air samples taken during the construction. [14]

On March 21, 2014, signs for I-11 were installed along the US 93 corridor. [15] On May 21, 2014, NDOT submitted an application to AASHTO to request the creation of the I-11 designation between the Arizona state line and the I-215/I-515 Interchange in Henderson. [16] AASHTO approved this request at their Spring 2014 Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering meeting, contingent on FHWA approval. [17] On August 16, 2017, the first southbound segment was opened to traffic, with its accompanying northbound segment opening on January 27, 2018. [18] In February 20, 2018, NDOT opened additional ramps connecting the new Railroad Pass Casino Road to both the Boulder City Parkway (current US 93 and US 95) and to I-11 (southbound exit and northbound entrance). [19] The final portion of Phase 1, between the new casino access road and US 95, opened on May 23, 2018. [20] [21] [22] On August 9, 2018, Phase 2 was opened to traffic, officially completing the Boulder City Bypass. [23]

Phase 2, which began construction on April 6, 2015, [24] was expected to open by October 2018; [25] however, in May 2018, the RTC announced that the section would be open by June 2018, three months ahead of schedule. [26] [27] That opening date was subsequently pushed back to August 9, 2018, as it was still in the post-construction stage. [28] In March 2019, NDOT replaced I-515 signs along its southernmost 5 miles (8.0 km) stretch with I-11 signs. [29]

Current status

As of July 2019, the only completed sections of I-11 are the Hoover Dam Bypass, the Boulder City Bypass and a former 5-mile (8.0 km) section of I-515. [30] [23] [29] The Nevada portion of the original I-11 corridor is a full freeway which meets current Interstate Highway standards from the Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge on US 93 to the northwest of Las Vegas on US 95. While the bulk of US 93 through Arizona has been upgraded to four lanes, some portions of that corridor are not built to Interstate standards, as there are scattered at-grade intersections, substandard roadway and shoulder widths, median crossovers and other deficiencies. Part of these dual roadways are repaved, re-striped sections of very old parts of US 93. Farther south, a direct system interchange with US 93 and I-40 is planned that will eliminate the bottleneck at Beale Street in western Kingman. [31]


The funding bill for the United States Department of Transportation, which replaced stopgaps that expired on June 30, 2012, officially designated I-11. This bill sped up funding for studying, engineering, and possibly building the highway. The Arizona legislature passed a law in 2009 that allowed private investors to team up with ADOT. In July 2012, Nevada's Transportation Board awarded $2.5 million in contracts to a team of consultants to study I-11's feasibility and its environmental and economic consequences. [7]

Tucson extension plans

Officials in Pima County, Arizona, supported an extension of the planned I-11 from Casa Grande which would wrap southwest of the Tucson Mountains before meeting with I-19 in Sahuarita, south of Tucson, and continuing east to I-10. [32] Over 800 residents signed a petition opposing that west-side bypass because it would impact the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, the Saguaro National Park and the Ironwood Forest National Monument. They recommended that I-11 be built on top of the existing I-10 route through Tucson. The additional segment would create the Tucson bypass route identified as a critical need by ADOT based upon I-10 traffic projections. [33] [34] [35]

Northern Nevada extension plans

The proposal to extend I-11 to the Reno area was supported by both of Nevada's U.S. Senators, Harry Reid and Dean Heller, as well as the rest of Nevada's delegation to the U.S. Congress. Heller stated that connecting the Phoenix area with Las Vegas and Northern Nevada would "spur long-term economic development, create jobs and bolster international trade". [36] The 2015 FAST Act gave Congressional approval to the proposed extensions in Nevada and Arizona, but not to extensions north of I-80. [3]

The Reno City Council was informed of potential I-11 corridor plans in March 2018. These include a route through Yerington that roughly parallels SR 208 until just before the Topaz Lake area, then takes a new route into Gardnerville and Minden before meeting up with current I-580 in Carson City, which it follows to its terminus of I-80 in Reno. The other potential corridors stick closer to US 95, with one following US 95 Alt. through Silver Springs to meet I-80 in Fernley, while another would take a new route east of Silver Springs to Fernley, meeting current US 50 Alt. west of Fallon which would then go to I-80 in Fernley. Another proposed route would go east of Mina and Luning and go north through Salt Wells before meeting US 95 north of Fallon which then meets I-80 farther up on north. Other minor alterations to these routes were also shown. [37]

Long-term corridor plans

I-11 was previously projected to serve as an Intermountain West part of the US's long-term CANAMEX Corridor transportation plans, with potential extensions south from Casa Grande to the Sonoran border, and north from Las Vegas through northern Nevada (potentially passing through Reno or Elko) and onward through either eastern OregonWashington or western Idaho before terminating at the Canadian border. [38] As of December 2015, I-11 is projected to become the Intermountain West Corridor, extending from Phoenix and Las Vegas through Reno to the Pacific Northwest via central or eastern Oregon and central Washington. [39] Feasibility studies for these corridor extensions began in July 2013 and were published in November 2014.

Exit list

Old exits on I-11 were formerly exits on I-515 numbered according to US 95 mileposts. The entire route is in Clark County.

Locationmi [40] kmOld exitNew exitDestinationsNotes
Colorado River 0.0000.000US 93.svg US 93 south Kingman, Phoenix Continuation beyond southern terminus into Arizona
Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge; Arizona–Nevada state line
Lake Mead NRA 2.0293.2652Business plate.svgNo image wide.svg
US 93.svgNevada 172.svg US 93 Bus. north (Boulder City Parkway) / SR 172 east (Hoover Dam Access Road) Boulder City, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead
Former US 93/US 466
Boulder City 13.59021.87114US 95.svg US 95 south / SR 173 north Searchlight, Boulder City Southern end of US 95 concurrency; also signed as "To US 93 Business"; unsigned SR 173 north was former US 95 north
Henderson 152415ARailroad Pass Casino Road
152415BBusiness plate.svg
US 93.svg US 93 Bus. south (Boulder City Parkway) Boulder City
Southbound exit and northbound entrance; former US 93 south/US 95 south/US 466 east
17.23827.74256A17AWagon Wheel Drive, Nevada State DriveSigned as exit 17 southbound; serves Nevada State College
56B17BBoulder Highway ( SR 582 north)Northbound exit and southbound entrance; former US 93 north/US 95 north/US 466 west
18.93530.4735719College DriveServes College of Southern Nevada, Henderson Campus
20.79133.4605920Horizon Drive Diverging diamond interchange
22.81836.7226123I-215.svgNevada 564.svg I215 west (Bruce Woodbury Beltway) / SR 564 east (Lake Mead Parkway)Northern end of US 93/US 95 concurrency; I-215 exit 1; former SR 146
I-515.svgUS 93.svgUS 95.svg I515 north / US 93 north / US 95 north Las Vegas, Ely, Reno Continuation beyond northern terminus of I-11
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also

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