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Interstate 11

THE LATEST ON I-11

Record of Decision

On November 15, 2021, the Federal Highway Administration released its Record of Decision for the Interstate 11 (I-11) Final Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement, including the Selected Corridor Alternative. Unfortunately, the Selected Corridor Alternative did not abandon the West Option through Avra Valley; instead, it maintains both the West and East Options in the Tucson Region as the process moves forward to the Tier 2 stage. The full Record of Decision with Appendices is also available for review. 

Federal Lawsuit

In response to this, the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection (CSDP) joined three other conservation groups (all member groups of CSDP) on April 21, 2022 to file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Tucson challenging the Federal Highway Administration’s approval of Interstate 11 last year. The other plaintiffs include the Center for Biological Diversity, Tucson Audubon Society, and Friends of Ironwood Forest. 

The agency approved the highway in November 2021 despite postponing an environmental review or deciding between two route options in Pima County, both of which would harm wildlife, public lands, and air quality and exacerbate the climate emergency. The lawsuit says this “approve now, study later” approach violated federal law.

“This is an egregious assault on 100 years of efforts by local, state and federal land agencies to protect important desert lands forever, for species to survive and move through the landscape,” said Carolyn Campbell with the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection. “There is overwhelming opposition by residents, tribal entities, public agencies and elected officials here in the Tucson area and we won’t stop until we’ve blocked this destructive and unneeded freeway that will harm our wildlands and wildlife.”

 

We remain strongly opposed to the West Selected Corridor Alternative Option in Avra Valley. We put together a set of talking points that summarize why the West Option should be abandoned in future stages of this planning process.

 

Talking points are available as a Google Doc, as a printable PDF, and on a separate webpage.

 

IMPORTANT RESOURCES

The main I-11 FEIS website is at: http://origin.i11study.com/Arizona/

A traditional PDF version of the FEIS (split into multiple documents) can be found at: http://origin.i11study.com/Arizona/Documents.asp

An interactive version of the FEIS can be accessed at: https://i11.ee.alytics.com/I11Arizona-Tier1EIS/

City of Tucson Resolution opposing I-11 in Avra Valley, originally passed in 2019, and reaffirmed by the Tucson City Council on August 10, 2021

Pima County Resolution opposing I-11 in Avra Valley, passed by the Pima County Board of Supervisors on August 16, 2021

Letter from the Town of Sahuarita opposing I-11 in Avra Valley, written after the Mayor and Town Council formally opposing the I-11 West Option on August 10, 2021

Background and History of I-11

Links to media articles and published Letters to the Editor about I-11

Past information on the 2019 I-11 Draft Environmental Impact Statement process

 

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?

1. Write a Letter to the Editor. There was a steady drumbeat of opposition to the proposed I-11 route in the Opinion section of the AZ Daily Star in 2019 and 2021!  Please submit a letter today! The AZ Daily Star will publish letters from individuals after a minimum of 30 days has passed since their last letter was printed so feel free to submit multiple letters over the next few months.  All Letters to the Editor published to date are listed on our Media & Letters to the Editor webpage

The on-line submission form to the AZ Daily Star can be found HERE.

Other regional newspapers also have a Letters to the Editor section. This includes:

Explorer/Marana Newsonline submission form

Green Valley Newsonline submission form 

Inside Tucson Businessonline submission form

Arizona Republiconline submission form

 

2. Write to U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly, your U.S. representative, your state senator and representatives, and Governor Ducey to express your opposition to the proposed I-11 route and to ask them to oppose any funding for the Tier 2 process for this project. Contact information for all of these elected officials is outlined below. 

Senator Kyrsten Sinemaonline form, mail addresses, and phone numbers

Senator Mark Kellyonline form, mail addresses and phone numbers

U.S. Representatives – enter your zip code and find contact info HERE

AZ State Senators and Representatives – enter your address and zip code and find contact info HERE

Governor Doug Duceyonline form

 

3. Share information about the Interstate 11 on your social media pages and encourage your friends and family to learn more about this project. Feel free to share any of our posts about this project. Our social media pages can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

 

Thank you for continuing to use your voice and all the available avenues to pressure ADOT and FHWA to make the right choice and abandon the West Selected Corridor Alternative Option in Avra Valley. And thank you for joining us in this important fight on behalf of the people and wildlife of the Sonoran Desert!

 

Photo gallery of lands that would be impacted by the proposed I-11 route. Photos by Frank Staub can be purchased at www.frankstaub.com. Please do not publish or reproduce photos without the photographer’s permission. 

Wasson Peak in the Tucson Mountains. Photo by Frank Staub.

Picture 1 of 20

Photo gallery of wildlife that would be impacted by the proposed I-11 route. Please do not publish or reproduce photos without the photographer’s permission. 

CSDP Conservation Science Director Jessica Moreno was excited to find mountain lion scat in Avra Valley near one of our camera sites. The large home range this mountain lion needs would be fractured forever by a potential new freeway being proposed nearby.

 

Questions? Please reach out to our Associate Director Kathleen Kennedy at Kathleen.Kennedy@sonorandesert.org or leave us a voicemail at (520) 388-9925 and we’ll get back with you as soon as possible!