Avra Valley residents may lose homes, businesses to Interstate 11

Community members learn potential routes

AVRA VALLEY, Ariz. - Opposition to Interstate 11 continues to grow among Avra Valley residents. 

The Avra Valley Coalition has recently obtained records from the Arizona Department of Transportation that show two potential routes for the proposed highway that would connect Wickenburg to Nogales. 

About 50 homes and businesses in the Avra Valley area will be effected along at least one of the routes, according to the records.

Avra Valley Coalition member Christopher Johnson says one of the routes goes right through his home on Avra Valley Road. 

MAP: See where Interstate 11 goes through your land

The Avra Valley Coalition has created the interactive map with the proposed routes.

ADOT says I-11 is needed for population and employment growth. Johnson says expanding Interstate 10 would be a more viable option and would preserve existing homes, businesses, and wildlife in the area.

By the end of the year, ADOT is expected to release which route I-11 will take. 

KGUN9 reached out to ADOT for comment and provided the following statement:

The Interstate 11 Tier 1 environmental study is a continuing process by the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. It is imperative to understand that a specific corridor has not been selected at this time.  ADOT and FHWA have been studying three corridor options in the Avra Valley and Tucson areas since 2017, and that is what was reflected on the recent map files provided to community members from FHWA. These three corridor options were presented as part of the Alternatives Selection Process and were presented to the public in May 2017 during six public meetings and a public comment period.
For reference, a corridor is a 2,000-foot-wide swath of land. An actual freeway alignment is approximately 400 feet or less and would be determined during Tier 2 environmental studies once the Tier 1 study is complete in late 2019. Tier 2 studies have not been funded or programmed yet.
At this point in the process, ADOT and FHWA have not determined a specific route for Interstate 11, and because of that, we cannot determine which specific homes or businesses might be affected by a specific route.
The next step in the Tier 1 study process is the publication of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which will present a recommended 2,000-foot-wide corridor for Southern Arizona, along with the No-Build Option. The Draft EIS is expected to be published in early January 2019. ADOT and FHWA will then look to the public for comment on the document in early 2019. Six public hearings will be scheduled, along with a comment period that will last for a minimum of 45 days. The I-11 study website will also provide many resources, including the Draft EIS document and opportunities for comments. That website can be found at www.i11study.com/Arizona.  
Once the public comment period is complete in early 2019, the I-11 study team will continue to evaluate the Recommended Corridor Alternative based on the comments received and the technical analysis. The Final Environmental Impact Statement will present a Preferred Corridor Alternative and the No-Build Option in 2019. This will provide another opportunity for public comment. Finally, the Record of Decision by the Federal Highway Administration will present either a Selected Corridor Alternative or the No-Build Option. This is expected in late 2019 or early 2020.
ADOT and FHWA will continue to keep all community members and stakeholders informed of the Tier 1 environmental study process and the results. All published documents and information can be found at www.i11study.com/Arizona.
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