Interstate Linking Las Vegas, Phoenix Faces Rocky Road
Las Vegas and Phoenix are linked by a road that narrows to two lanes, hits stoplights in a Depression-era town and until recently backed up traffic over the Hoover Dam.
Despite being two of the largest cities in the Southwest, they aren’t directly connected by an interstate freeway.
There have been halting advances toward creating a slick, new highway to cover the 300 miles of desert between Sin City and the Valley of the Sun, but if it’s ever going to happen, according to Steve Betts, leader of a coalition of project supporters, “everyone would have to be very creative.”
An effort to improve what’s now a 4 1/2-hour drive with a more reliable road has heavy-hitting allies, including business leaders and the Republican governor of each state. “Long-term jobs are created by our connectivity,” Betts said, noting that the stretch would be the first piece of a new shipping route between Mexico and Canada.
But critics ask whether such a multibillion dollar development would be more than a vanity project that would take resources away from more immediate concerns. The cities already “are connected by U.S. 93. Whether they need an interstate is a question,” said transportation historian Earl Swift.