LAS VEGAS - The brand new Interstate 11 is now open. Cars started driving on the freeway just before 5 a.m. Wednesday.
I-11 will eventually link Las Vegas and Phoenix which had been the only two major cities not connected by an interstate.
Drivers journeyed through a major infrastructure milestone in the early morning hours of Wednesday's commute.
"This is actually the first new interstate built from scratch in the entire country since 1998," said Tony Illia, NDOT spokesman.
He says the opening of the first phase of I-11 signals the start of non-stop travel between Phoenix and Las Vegas by going around Boulder City.
"Currently anyone who is traveling to Phoenix and taking this route, has to travel through downtown Boulder City, which can be slow moving," Illia said. "You have traffic lights, you have lower speed limits, you have pedestrians."
The southbound portion of I-11 is only 2 1/2 miles long -- a relatively short distance -- that's part of a much larger $83 million project.
When completed, the Boulder City Bypass will be roughly 15 miles long and the vision for it stretches even further.
"The bigger picture would be to have I-11 travel from the boarder of Mexico, all the way north up to Canada," Illia said.
He says, this phase is slated to finish in Dec. 2016.
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