When transportation planners dared talk openly about Interstate 11 a few years ago, the notion of a new freeway connecting Phoenix and Las Vegas seemed fanciful to many, outlandish to some.
New long-distance freeways were a thing of the past in the United States. Most big projects in the last quarter-century involved a spur or an interchange or a loop, not a new route across virgin land for mile upon mile.
Even locally, the closest thing to an interstate highway, the South Mountain Freeway, was mired in politics, funding, and controversy since the mid-1980s before finally breaking ground.
But there is now real momentum behind I-11. And it’s more than a slick photo op of former Governor Jan Brewer planting a sign next to Hoover Dam saying so.