As desert bighorn sheep looked down from the hills and the waters of Lake Mead sparkled in the background, a portion of Interstate 11 opened Aug. 9 after a formal ceremony.
The first portion of the freeway, which will eventually span from Canada to Mexico, travels through 1.5 miles of Lake Mead National Recreation Area to the Hoover Dam.
“You don’t normally see an interstate running through a national park,” Mike Boyles, Lake Mead lands, planning and compliance specialist said. “Throughout planning and construction, we wanted to preserve all of our National Park Service values.”
Over the past 15 years, Boyles and other park staff worked with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, Nevada Department of Transportation and contractors to educate them about the importance of maintaining natural view sheds, wildlife migration patterns and dark night skies.