In a somewhat surprising move, the new Interstate 11/Boulder City Bypass has been opened in both directions two months ahead of schedule. Instead of October, they had the dedication and ribbon cutting on Thursday and had all the barricades and lane restrictions removed by Friday.
So I went for a drive to check it all out.
No More Boulder City
The first thing you notice on the drive is that there are no signs for Boulder City or of Boulder City except on the two exits. Otherwise, the city doesn’t exist in the minds of the travelers. You can see a few houses and buildings off in the horizon, but nothing that says “Hey, You should see what you are missing”. And that’s a shame. It’s a beautiful little town that people really should stop and explore. Now that they don’t have to worry about the traffic and the delays, they can hit the exit and spend a little time relaxing in a town that seems like time almost forgot.
Having said that, it is actually a really boring drive. Most of the road is 15 miles of open. straight road with a few hills and curves. Lot of open, flat desert scrubland punctuated with a beautiful overlook of Lake Mead and some power lines and power transfer substation! CAUTION: Being open and flat, you may want to push a little heavier on the accelerator. I would not do that. Watch Your Speed (65mph). The Boulder City Police have already staked out a few sneaky hideouts to sit and wait for speeders to pass by. Seriously good hideouts!
What little scenery there is, is of course, amazing! On the southbound side, heading to the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, at the crest of the hill is an overlook. You get to see Lake Mead stretched out before you. Ok, it’s a little low and getting lower, but from this perch, you can see its greatness as well as the unique diversity with the mountains surrounding it. This lets you know that you have indeed left the megacity of Las Vegas and entered into the scenic wilds of the Mojave Desert.
Eliminating that often congestive long line in Boulder City, waiting to make the left hand turn to head to the border, will be a great time saver. Leaving Las Vegas or coming from Arizona, doing freeway speeds will cut your time down by 15 minutes if not more on the weekends. One of the other time savers is that this is a limited freeway. There are only three entrance ramps from start to finish. Meaning long, open roads without much need for lane changes.
No Congestion to Lake Mead or Hoover Dam
Those wanting to visit Lake Mead National Park, the scenic, and now faster route will still be through Boulder City. Less traffic, better time to view the scenery, see what makes Boulder City the little town that time forgot. Maybe stop to see if the bighorn sheep are down in Hemenway Park and not worry about the traffic congestion. Relax and enjoy it all!
Going to Hoover Dam can be a new experience. Use the new Interstate 11 to go to the Dam, see the Dam then drive Boulder City Parkway back into Boulder City as you head back to Las Vegas. Stop in Boulder City, grab a meal, do some small town shopping and enjoy the rest of the day before rejoining modern society in the jungles of Las Vegas!
We Were First
The Interstate 11 project is to be part of a larger series of interstate highways to help with the flow of international traffic that is part of the NAFTA Treaty. A trade agreement between the United States, Canda, and Mexico. Interstate 11 is to connect Las Vegas, Nevada to Phoenix, Arizona. Currently, we are connected by a series of state highways as well as one section of Interstate 40. Making for a very long and often times dangerous drive for long-haul truckers and others needing to do trade between our cities as well as nations. Arizona has yet to identify their route of Interstate 11.
What are your thoughts on the new interstate?