Since its inception in 1995, the CANAMEX Corridor has grown to become the cornerstone for the seamless and efficient transportation of goods, services, people and information between Canada, Mexico and the United States. As the implementation of NAFTA moves toward fruition, the CANAMEX Corridor will broaden its initiatives to harvest the benefits of increased trade, tourism and economic activity within the region. The CANAMEX Corridor provides many opportunities to build regional economic prosperity through innovating:
- Safe and efficient multi-modal Transportation Networks.
- Enhanced Global Competitiveness which requires quality education, accessible telecommunications infrastructure and an “appropriate
- Shared commitment to the region’s “Quality of Life.”
THE CANAMEX TRADE ROUTE
The CANAMEX Corridor Project is a broad reaching plan whose key objective is to create a direct trade route from Canada to Mexico. This initiative is being supported for its development and implementation by the US States en-route for this plan: Montana, Idaho Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. The CANAMEX corridor plan has been created from carefully managed studies by various organizations and agencies.
The economic benefits of the CANAMEX Corridor 26 project are wide reaching and convey deep into the economies of all those situated along the The CANAMEX Trade Route. Investment will increase over time as the ease of freight movements not only between Canadian and Mexican terminals but also provide an axial hub through which to create trading opportunities across the US, intersecting with other trading routes that have become the backbone of transportation across the whole North American Continent. Canada is equally as avid to progress the CANAMEX development with a huge trading sutrplus which will only improve with the CANAMEX Corridor. Rail freight is part of the plan together with an advanced telecommunications infrastructure.
WHY IS THE CANAMEX TRADE CORRIDOR SO IMPORTANT?
The CANAMEX Trade Corridor is a geographically designated area that has been developed and offers enhanced resources to facilitate the easy transportation of freight, movement of personnel and the delivery of services along its route. Studies have shown that there are a number of benefits to the creation of these trade routes with a surge in economic potential the primary outcome.
There are concerns that such routes will devour the available trade for nearby areas that are not serviced so well, but there are over 22 such corridors in the Northern America so there is more like a network of corridors linked by main highways and railways infrastructure that offers everyone a slice of the available “economic cake.” The CANAMEX Trade Corridor “will service a particular need” and allow areas without such access to enjoy economic promotion and a better trade and growth potential.
INCREASED EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Over 2 million jobs are trade-related in the 5 States which are within the project as defined so far with the Hoover Dam bypass now open since 2010, further adding to the efficiency the CANAMEX trade route offers the freight industry and traders alike.
The CANAMEX route traverses a number of popular tourist attractions including the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, the Targhee National Forest and Glacier National Park. The improvements in accessibility and the increased opportunity for new tourism activities and services to be available to tourists will encourage growth in those areas. Business communities, local communities and tourism groups can use the resources that the CANAMEX route brings with it to create new themes and experiences that will create economic prosperity. More about tourism on the CANAMEX Route here.
The addition of proper telecommunications along the CANAMEX corridor will have significant benefits to those in rural areas who cannot even use a cellphone in many cases due to poor coverage. The availability of broadband communications will boost the ability of many communities to support business and restrain the drain of human resources as they gravitate toward areas with better services – usually cities. The availability of modern telecommunications can “transform” the ability for local businesses to thrive, particularly as the Internet gains momentum in these areas. The actual construction/reconstruction/improvements “schemes” create an initial environment of employment and financial stability which in turn generates demand for local services. This growth is anticipated to add hundreds of millions to local economies. The “scheme” as as whole is a $2BN investment – much of that money will be in construction wages, of which a large proportion will be “locally sourced labor.” [Nope. Those jobs will go to China. They already “won” the bid]
The CANAMEX Corridor was also specified by NAFTA to include a railroad systems to match the advances in highway construction and vehicles, with advanced rail systems. These are intended to take the form of larger, longer and more efficient trains, making the maximum use of technologies such as double decker trains and multiple engines that can pull immensely long trains. Recent developments in railroad technology from other regions such as Europe and Japan would be applied to both passenger and freight bearing rail transport.
There is no existing railroad connection between Phoenix and las Vegas. Traffic headed there from Phoenix must use the Arizona and California Railway and/or BNSF Railway via Barstow, CA to get an onward connection. This is largely due to the Sierra Nevada Mountains forming a difficult and expensive barrier to overcome when building a direct rail connection east-west.
PORTS IN MEXICO
The railways along the CANAMEX corridor are owned by a variety of companies whose policies for use, investment levels and technology uptake are required to be harmonized to ensure that the service is an end to end solution without bottlenecks and restrictions along its length. The intention of the Mexican authorities responsible for development in their region intend to extend the reaches of the railroad, potentially all the way to an Eastern seabord port which would be able to handle incoming freight from Asia. Although there are already such ports on the east coast of the US, they are already running at near capacity and “would cause environmental problems” if expanded in many cases. Development similar to that at the port of Matzalan, Mexico was envisioned.
World Bank – Planning And Analysis (Roads / Highways)
Government Advisors on Data Security – SalvageData Recovery
American Road – Builders and Transportation Association
Occupational Safety & Health Administration – Highways
A North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Corridor
The CANAMEX Corridor, like the Interstate 35 and Camino Real Corridors, were added to the list of high priority corridors in 1995 with the passage of the NHS legislation. CANAMEX is another provide NAFTA corridor that would facilitate easy access for trade across the borders of Mexico and Canada.
Some of the work that’s been directly attributed to the CANAMEX Corridor is the Port of Entry along Interstate 19 in Nogales, Arizona. There is also an “intermodal transportation center” proposed for Las Vegas, Nevada. A test to automate the clearance of commercial border crossings was performed both there and in Texas. It is unclear if this test is ongoing.
Interstate 11 is proposed by the authors of the Roads and Bridges Interstate 2000 article. Keep in mind that this does not mean that there are definitive plans by FHWA, AASHTO, or any state DOT to construct an Interstate highway between Las Vegas and Phoenix. Here is the entry from that article for Interstate 11:
Interstate 11 Phoenix to Las Vegas: These two metropolitan areas of 2.6 million and 1.1 million population respectively are the nation’s closest large metropolitan areas without a direct interstate connection, and the cities remain among the nation’s fastest growing areas. In the future this route might be extended to the fast-growing Reno and Boise areas.
I have not heard any other information about this potential Interstate highway corridor anywhere else, but U.S. 60 is already a four-lane highway for much of its length between Phoenix and Wickenburg.
The CANAMEX Corridor follows Interstate 19 from Nogales north to Tucson, then heads northwest on Interstate 10 to Phoenix. At Phoenix, the corridor follows U.S. 60 and U.S. 93 northwest to Kingman and Hoover Dam.
Interstate 10 through Tucson is currently being widened and improved to accommodate increased traffic needs in that metropolitan area. Although no additional freeways are planned, the city is discussing other local city street improvements to improve traffic flow both through and around the city.
There wasn’t much local opposition to the four-laning project. The locals suffer from the very heavy traffic just as much as anyone. The only real controversy was about the new Interstate 40 interchange. The trumpet interchange will be replaced with a larger one. This still leaves the low-capacity ramp going from east to south, but very little traffic goes that way anyway.
The controversy was about a local road that goes north from the interchange. The new interchange will be a freeway-to-freeway interchange, with no grade connections allowed. ADOT’s proposal is a new grade separation over Interstate 40 to the west, which would work its way back to an interchange on U.S. 93. It’s a heck of a detour, and I’m not surprised people were upset with it. IMHO, it should be at least a half-diamond interchange so traffic could get to/from Kingman.
And yes indeed, the new highway will be controlled access. It will be first constructed with grade crossings, leaving room for interchanges later. When “later” will be is unclear. For more information, check out Alan Hamilton’s Arizona U.S. 93 webpage.
Hoover Dam Bypass
One of the more expensive segments of this corridor will be the new bridge over the Colorado River near Hoover Dam – cost probably over $100 million, including new approach highways. The chosen alternative (“Sugarloaf”) will be to construct a new bridge downstream from the dam. The bypass will be a four-lane, divided highway about 3.2 miles long that will include numerous wildlife crossings as well as a 1,900-foot bridge that will cross the Colorado River at a height of more than 900 feet. Construction is scheduled to start in late 2002 and take about five years to complete. It is budgeted at $198 million.
A webpage dedicated to this is hosted by the official Hoover Dam Bypass Organization. It shows alternative routings, project schedules, and other information.
Other Hoover Dam Bypass Alternatives
Arizona and Nevada have also submitted a joint application for funding under the newly created National Corridor Planning and Development program (Sec. 1118). That program authorizes $140 million annually for coordinated planning, design and construction of corridors of national significance. And fortunately, the Hoover Dam is located on the CANAMEX corridor one of the major U.S. highway linkages between Mexico and Canada. Federal Highways has been leading the efforts to complete the final environmental impact statement that should be finalized this summer. The record of decision that will follow on the alternative sites evaluated will officially announce FHWA’s course of action. Final design work can begin this fall, with construction of the crossing scheduled to begin in 2002. Construction is expected to be completed by 2007. TEA-21 has provided the necessary jump- start needed to begin imagining the “transformation of a dream to a reality.”
IDAHO Behind in Implementation – The CANAMEX Trade Route
It has yet to be seen whether improvements in the world economy, or changes in the mood of those in government and legislature will “redress the situation.” It is more likely simply an issue of “placing more emphasis” on the benefits of helping to complete a vital section of this trade route as much as anything.
Continuing northwest from the Hoover Dam Bypass, upgrades are planned to the stretch of U.S. 93 and U.S. 95 between the dam and the beginning of Interstate 515. Freeway upgrades will be applied to this entire section of highway as funding permits. It is unclear if the Interstate 515 designation will be extended along with the freeway upgrades.
The corridor merges with Interstate 15-40 Economic Lifeline Corridor 16 in Las Vegas, and they run tandem to Mesquite, Nevada. For more on Interstate 15 projects in Las Vegas, please go to the Corridor 16 page.
A variety of improvements are planned or proposed for the Interstate 15 Corridor through Utah. At the southern end of the state, a St. George Beltway has been proposed, which would provide increased access for that rapidly growing area of the state.
The modification of a parallel facility, I-15, is being evaluated concurrently with the proposed Legacy Parkway. Reported on separate Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), I-15 North is proposed to be expanded to ten lanes between 600 North in Salt Lake City and 200 North in Kaysville, north of the current I-15 South reconstruction project. Eight of the ten lanes (four in each direction) on this portion of I-15 will be general usage, and two lanes (one in each direction) will be designated as continuous-access, high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lanes. All of the existing interchanges will be replaced with high-capacity, operationally efficient facilities.
The Montana section of CANAMEX would follow Interstate 15 for its entire length. Some proposed improvements include a bypass of Great Falls, revision of Great Falls interchanges, and a potential four-lane expressway from Great Falls south to Billings via U.S. 87. In the Great Falls Tribune (Montana) dated Sunday, February 11, 2001 appeared this article, “Plan would pave way for trade: CANAMEX would create a seamless highway trade corridor from Mexico to Canada,” by Karen Ivanova. The idea is to make the 1,504-mile CANAMEX Corridor — stretching from Edmonton, Alberta, to Mexico City — a leading trade and tourism route in the new, technology-driven economy, including the segment within Montana.
Even north of the border, connections to the CANAMEX Corridor are being constructed. According to Jim Guthrie of Edmonton, the corridor leading north from the northern terminus of Interstate 15 is planned to be upgraded. The upgraded corridor follows several routes. From the south, they are: Route 4 North to Lethbridge, Route 3 west to Fort McLeod, Route 2 north to Edmonton, around the City of Edmonton to the west on a new ring road, Route 16 west, Route 43 north, Route 34 west, and Route 2 west into British Columbia. The CANAMEX Corridor would then find a direction connection to Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek, British Columbia.
For additional information, check out North South Trade Corridor – Alberta Ministry of Transportation, which includes plans for upgrades just north of Interstate 15.
Memorandum of Understanding Documents:
Memorandum of Understanding (2013) (pdf 129K)
ARHCA MOU Work Plan Documents:
ARHCA Work Plan – 2013/17 (pdf 212K)