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Portion of Interstate 11 between Phoenix, Vegas opens to drivers

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., attends a groundbreaking ceremony for the Interstate 11 Boulder City bypass project Monday, April 6, 2015, in Boulder City, Nev. (AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS — An initial 15-mile stretch of the country’s newest interstate designed to ultimately connect Las Vegas and Phoenix is open to motorists.

Nevada officials gathered Thursday to open the new roadway that bypasses Boulder City near the Arizona border and is estimated to shave 30 minutes to the drive from Las Vegas to Phoenix.

Construction on the 15-mile segment began in 2015 and cost $318 million.

Officials hope the interstate will eventually connect Mexico and Canada.

Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada spokeswoman Monika Bertaki said there’s no timeline or funding yet for completing the interstate and connecting the two southwest cities.

Speakers at Thursday’s event included Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller, Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, Democratic Reps. Dina Titus and Ruben Kihuen and other local officials.

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