Boulder City looks at survival strategy when Interstate 11 opens - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Boulder City looks at survival strategy when Interstate 11 opens

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A markup of Interstate 11. (Source: NDOT) A markup of Interstate 11. (Source: NDOT)

On Wednesday morning, a small segment of Interstate 11 opened near Boulder City. It's all part of a larger project which brings Nevada the first new interstate it has seen in years. The goal is to help travelers bypass traffic in Boulder City on their way from Las Vegas to Phoenix (and vice versa).

People in Boulder City viewed it as a good thing, but also possibly a bad thing. Residents said they can't wait to get rid of the traffic, especially with so many big rigs flying through town every day. Still, they said they're worried travelers are going to bypass their businesses along with the traffic.

George Garcia, a consultant working with the city, compared the Interstate 11 to a much less drastic version of Route 66, which set up "ghost towns" like Oatman, Arizona to fail.

"Nobody knows for sure what the ultimate future is going to be," he said. "Failure to plan is planning to fail."

Garcia said he doesn't think the damage to Boulder City will be quite as extreme, but he still thinks developing the 700 acres of land at the interchange that connects the 95, 93, and I-11 is the smartest way to make sure business stays relevant.

"That's a pretty phenomenal opportunity, and interchanges don't come around all the time ... let alone with that kind of land," he said.

"I don't really buy the comparisons to Route 66," City Councilmember Rich Shuman said. "Charming little town here. I don't think people are ever going to want to stop coming to Boulder City for any reason." 

Shuman said he is looking forward to hearing more about Garcia's development strategies at the next city council meeting on August 22nd. He agreed that the interchange presents a great opportunity to promote the city and possibly even expose it to more people.

"At this point, nothing's planned," he said. "I open the dialogue. I welcome the discussion."

If the land is developed, Shuman said he would like to see businesses in place that don't compete directly with the businesses deeper within the city. Instead he would rather the two areas work together to promote prosperity for everyone.

"Something like a data center. Truck stop," he said. "Manufacturing facilities."

The final implementation of Interstate 11 near Boulder City is expected to be finished next summer. Wednesday morning's installment will connect the 95 and I-11, but will still require drivers to pass through Boulder City on their way to and from Phoenix.

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