Battle royal shaping up over Interstate 11 route | NevadaAppeal.com

Battle royal shaping up over Interstate 11 route

David C. Heley
Publisher Emeritus

Mark Amodei

There could be a battle royal in northwest Nevada to determine the route of Interstate 11, the new north-south freeway that ultimately will connect Mexico to Canada, according to Congressman Mark Amodei.

One of several politicians who attended Monday's Labor Day festivities in Fallon, Amodei, a Republican, said that contention over the route's path through northern Nevada relates to its direction after it goes through Las Vegas and heads to Tonopah en route to Idaho and points north.

Whether or not the route will go east or west of Hawthorne, Fallon or Carson City after reaching Tonopah has yet to be determined, and that's where the rub lies, according to Amodei, who attended Fallon's annual Kiwanis Club's annual pancake breakfast and rode in the downtown parade that is sponsored by the Lions Club.

Construction of the freeway has already begun, but the route through Nevada is still in the planning stages, and several communities are lobbying for Interstate 11 to pass near them, Amodei added.

One of the principal sticking points concerns the route's direction when it goes to Hawthorne and Mineral County. Will it proceed east or west of Walker Lake? Will it go through Gabbs and then on to Fallon or Carson City before heading east to Lovelock and Winnemucca and then north to Boise, Idaho?

Should the route go through Fallon or between Fallon and Fernley and thus bypass Carson City, Fallon would become a "major national crossroads," Amodei said. Churchill County Commissioner Bus Scharmann told the Lahontan Valley News that the Fallon route "makes the most sense."

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"It makes sense because once the freeway reaches Fallon, it would then be a straight shot north to Idaho," Scharmann said.

Gov. Bryan Sandoval, who also attended the Labor Day celebrations in Fallon, reiterated his previous pledge that he will not announce his personal choice for president when it comes time to vote in the November general election.

"Nothing has really changed," he said. "I've not changed my mind. I will not vote for Hillary Clinton, but I'm not saying whom I'll vote for president."

Sandoval, a Republican, who did not attend the Republican state and national conventions, has repeatedly said he will not campaign for or endorse Donald Trump for president because he has concerns about Trump's "escalating tone and rhetoric."

"Right now I'm focused on the growth of more jobs for Nevadans, the improvement of education and increased economic development in the state," Sandoval said. When asked about two other challenges to Nevada — the possibilities that a nuclear dump still could be built in Nevada and a new round of military base closings or downsizings could adversely affect Naval Air Station Fallon and other facilities in the state — the governor said he believes the dump will not be built and the military bases are not threatened.

Amodei also said he is sure the dump will not come to Nevada and that the state's military bases will remain untouched.

But Amodei, who also is a Republican, said he will vote for Trump.

"I'm a team player. At first, I supported Jeb Bush, then I supported Marco Rubio, and when Trump won the nomination fair and square I supported him. Trump is now reaching out to Blacks and Hispanics and his campaign is right on track. Yes, he has some maturing to do and sometimes he talks a little bit off the cuff, but I'm supporting him," said Amodei.