Another series of public hearing will be held in Hawthorne to discuss the selection of Interstate 11 on Aug. 7 from 4-7 p.m. at the Hawthorne Convention Center. This meeting will be to receive more information from Mineral County residents on the pros and cons of the four-lane highway.
There are four different routes being considered. The routes are as follows:
B1 – The B1 route travels through mostly federal land and crosses northwest of Salt Wells in Churchill County (15 miles east of Fallon) and intersects U.S. 95 north of that town.
B2 – This route follows U.S. 95 but heads east around Walker Lake and then turns north towards Churchill County veering northwest across the Naval Air Station Fallon Navy training grounds, across U.S. Highway 50, then onto Fernley.
B3 – This route is also in Mineral County following the B2 route to the north of Walker Lake then heading northwest into Lyon County through the Mason Valley agricultural lands and skirting Yerington as it makes its way toward Silver Springs and ending in Fernley.
B4 – The B4 route heads west from the northern end of Walker Lake through Wilson Canyon in Lyon County and skirting the Sierra Nevada range from the south of Gardnerville to Reno, which will parallel I-580.
Mineral County residents have met in town hall meetings choosing the routes that best work for our communities but the final decision lies in the hands of the Nevada Department of Transportation.
The B1 route completely bypasses Hawthorne and Schurz. According to the Lahontan Valley News (LVN), most residents of Fallon prefer this route.
B2 seems to be economical for Mineral County but the Naval Air Station Fallon Navy has been in the process of expanding their training grounds and with this alternative route, it is unknown if the Navy will be comfortable with an interstate running right through the grounds.
Churchill County Commissioner Bud Scharmann told the LVN that even though NDOT prefers routes B2 and B3, he points out that route B2 was under water last year, after an exceptional winter snow season.
Route B3 looks unreasonable due to ripping up of agricultural land for an interstate whereas B4 currently doesn’t seem to be a solution when Washoe County is already experiencing out-of-control growth with a lack of infrastructural preplanning.
Congressman Ruben J. Kiheun, D-Las Vegas, who has met with Mineral County residents regarding the I-11 project, sent a letter to Gov. Brian Sandoval and NDOT in March regarding his concerns of the B1 route.
“I am strongly concerned that the Alternative Rote B1 bypasses the towns of Mina, Luning, Hawthorne, Walker Lake, Schurz, and Yerington, passing only through the town of Gabbs,” he explained to the governor.
“This rote creates a corridor of approximately 200 miles that is almost entirely devoid of infrastructure and necessary services, including law enforcement, medical facilities and personnel, and fir rescue services. As you are aware, the town of Gabbs has a population of approximately 250 people, and currently depends on the communities of Tonopah and Hawthorne for basic services.”
A press release announcing the public meetings explains that each corridor for each corridor alternative will be presented after being evaluated, screed and scored after March public meetings input.
NDOT will make recommendations on these corridor alternatives for advancement in the future. These evaluations help to “potentially narrow the feasible range of corridor alternatives for future planning and environmental review; helping streamline environmental review and development of this interstate facility over future decades. The efforts could also help designate and preserve public lands needed for the future interstate,” the press release from NDOT explained.
“The future I-11 will not only further connect our state, but the entire West. It will bring enhanced mobility, traffic safety, freight and other opportunities for Nevada,” NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon described.
Those who want to provide comment can write, call or email Kevin Verre, Nevada Department of Transportation, 1263 S. Stewart St., Carson City, NV 89712 email: firstname.lastname@example.org