On July 16, 2021, the Arizona Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration released the Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Interstate 11 (I-11) route from Nogales to Wickenburg. The FEIS identifies TWO possible Preferred Alternatives, a West Option through Avra Valley AND an East Option that co-locates I-11 with I-19 and I-10 through the Tucson region. The 30-day comment period for the FEIS concluded on August 16, 2021.
Notable achievements related to opposing the I-11 West Option include:
*The City of Tucson re-affirmed their 2019 resolution opposing any new freeway in Avra Valley at their meeting on August 10, 2021.
*The Town of Sahuarita Mayor and Council formally opposed the West Option for I-11 at their meeting on August 10, 2021 and subsequently submitted a letter expressing this opposition on August 13, 2021.
*Pima County approved a resolution opposing any new freeway in Avra Valley and the proposed I-11 West Option at their meeting on August 16, 2021. Pima County received over 225 letters from community members supporting this resolution.
*A diverse array of community organizations submitted comments on the FEIS opposing the I-11 West Option through Avra Valley. See below for links to these comment letters.
We strongly opposed the West Preferred Alternative Option in Avra Valley. We put together a set of talking points that summarize why the West Option should not move forward to the Tier 2 planning stage.
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
COMMENTS SUBMITTED ON THE TIER 1 I-11 FEIS
CSDP comments on the Tier 1 I-11 FEIS, co-signed by 24 environmental and community partners
Dr. Thomas Wiewandt, President of Wild Horizons Publishing, comments on the I-11 FEIs, with a focus on impacts of sound/noise from freeways on wildlife
Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, comments on the I-11 FEIS
U.S. Department of Interior, comments on the I-11 FEIS
Pima County, comments on the I-11 FEIS
Gates Pass Area Neighborhood Association, comments on the I-11 FEIS
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 News – online submission form
Green Valley News – online submission form
Inside Tucson Business – online submission form
Arizona Republic – online 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 Sinema – online form, mail addresses, and phone numbers
Senator Mark Kelly – online 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 Ducey – online 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 Preferred 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.
Saguaro National Park is a national treasure populated by large stands of the Sonoran Desert’s most iconic plant, the saguaro cactus. Since Interstate 10 already runs along the park’s eastern flank, an additional freeway directly to the west would isolate and endanger this national park forever. Photos courtesy Saguaro National Park/NPS.
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.
This Nelson’s Bighorn Sheep ram (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) was photographed in the northern end of the Tucson Mountains in 2016 after likely migrating from Ironwood Forest National Monument to the west (and directly through the area proposed for an I-11 route). This ram was one of two desert bighorn sheep spotted throughout the Tucson Mountains until they finally traveled further afield. Photo by Brian Jones.
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!