Document marks completion of Tier 1 study to determine proposed new highway corridor between Nogales and Wickenburg
The Record of Decision and Final Preliminary Section 4(f) Evaluation for the 280-mile Interstate 11 study corridor – stretching from Nogales to Wickenburg – has been completed and published. After more than five years of study, technical analysis and input from communities and stakeholders, the publication of this decision document marks a major milestone as the final step in the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement process for this proposed highway corridor.
The signed Record of Decision, approved by the Federal Highway Administration, is available at i11study.com/Arizona. The Record of Decision was prepared by the Arizona Department of Transportation and the FHWA, and was completed in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. This decision document identifies the Selected Corridor Alternative, which is a Build Alternative. The Selected Corridor Alternative is a combination of new and existing roadways.
The Selected Corridor Alternative is the same as the Preferred Corridor Alternative outlined in the Final Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement published on July 16, 2021. The 2,000-foot-wide Selected Corridor Alternative is the area within which the proposed I-11 facility could be built.
For I-11 to advance as a construction project, several additional steps would be required. These steps would include NEPA approval, identifying funding, and conducting specific, project-level Tier 2 NEPA studies of priority corridor segments. It is during the Tier 2 process that the Selected Corridor Alternative would be narrowed to a maximum 400-foot-wide highway alignment, or route. Based on need and purpose, these segments would focus on smaller and shorter sections of I-11 and not the entire 280-mile corridor. Currently there are no plans or funding available to initiate these Tier 2 studies.
The I-11 Tier 1 environmental study began in 2016. All study documents and public outreach materials are available at i11study.com/Arizona, including an Interactive EIS that was published in addition to the Final Tier 1 EIS in July 2021. Formal public comment periods were held in 2016, 2017 and 2019, with a 30-day public review period for the Final Tier 1 EIS from July 16 through August 16, 2021. A total of 18 public meetings and hearings were held throughout the five-year study process to inform community members about the study, engage with them and listen to their feedback, and document their questions and comments for the public record.
The Tier 1 study includes more than five years of technical analysis; coordination with study partners such as cooperating agencies, participating agencies and tribal governments; and the review and consideration of public input received at study milestones. All of this information informed the decision identifying the Selected Corridor Alternative documented in the Record of Decision.
The proposed I-11 is envisioned as a multi-use corridor that would improve Arizona’s access to regional and international markets while opening up new opportunities for enhanced travel, mobility, trade, commerce, job growth and economic competitiveness.
The concept of a high-capacity, high-priority north-south transportation facility that connects U.S. markets to Canada and Mexico through the western U.S. has been considered for more than 25 years. In 2015, the U.S. Congress approved the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), which formally designated I-11 as an interstate highway through Arizona and reinforced the concept for I-11 that had emerged from previous ADOT studies. This designation did not include funding for design and construction.
For more information about I-11 and the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement, visit i11study.com/Arizona.