The CANAMEX corridor is a series of improvements to freeways and other transportation infrastructure linking Canada to Mexico through the United States. The corridor was established under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Currently the corridor is defined by a series of highways. However, the corridor is also proposed for use by railroads and fiber optic telecommunications infrastructure.
The CANAMEX Trade Corridor was outlined in 1991 in the “ISTEA” highway bill, and defined by Congress in the 1995 National Highway Systems Designation Act, Public Law 104-59, November 28, 1995.
The CANAMEX corridor is defined by the numbered highway designations along its length:
- British Columbia
- Montana - Interstate 15
- Idaho - Interstate 15
- Utah - Interstate 15
Since the CANAMEX corridor was originally proposed, a second proposal, Interstate 11, would run along a similar path in Nevada and Arizona and replace most of the current non-freeway segments in those states.
The United States portion of the highway was established as a High Priority Corridor. The treaty establishes that the CANAMEX highway will be upgraded to at least 4 lanes along its entire length. In 2008, 84% of the highway in the United States was compliant, 86% of the highway in Mexico was compliant. The Canada portion was completed in 2007.
When the corridor was first approved, two bottlenecks were identified with the Arizona portion of the corridor that required significant infrastructure to address. The first was the route of U.S. Route 93 across northwestern Arizona, which at the time included a slow route with numerous hairpin curves over the Hoover Dam. The Hoover Dam Bypass opened in December 2010, resolving this issue.
The second issue was a gap near Phoenix. The official designation is Interstate 10 to U.S. Route 93 at Phoenix. However, US 93 does not enter Phoenix or connect with I-10. US 93 currently terminates at Wickenburg, northwest of Phoenix. To make this connection originally required driving U.S. Route 60, a surface street through the western suburbs of Phoenix, not compliant with the standards established by the treaty. The chosen alternative for resolution involved creating a compliant connection between Wickenburg and Phoenix via upgrades and extensions to Arizona State Route 303. Most of the upgrades have been completed, with the final phase expected to be complete by the end of 2016. A second proposal has since been made for a freeway connection between Las Vegas, Nevada and Casa Grande, Arizona, Interstate 11, that would in its course connect Wickenburg to Phoenix.
NAFTA also established the CANAMEX corridor for rail usage. The Union Pacific Railroad owns and operates rail lines loosely following the highway corridor between Las Vegas and Canada, acquired from the former Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad and the Oregon Short Line. The Union Pacific also owns a rail line between Phoenix, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico acquired from the former Southern Pacific Railroad. However, there is no existing railroad line directly connecting Las Vegas and Phoenix. Rail traffic between these cities currently uses the Arizona and California Railway and/or BNSF Railway via Barstow, California for a connection.
- "CANAMEX Corridor". Canamex Coalition. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
- CANAMEX Corridor Coalition, Federal Definition – The CANAMEX Trade Corridor (retrieved 8 Nov. 2015)
- "Federal Definition". Canamex coalition.
- "CANAMEX statistics". Retrieved 2008-01-12.
- Illia, Tony; Cho, Aileen (7 December 2009). "Buffeted by High Winds and Setbacks, a Bypass Is Making History Near Hoover Dam". Engineering News-Record. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies. 263 (18): 18. ISSN 0891-9526.
(The crossing) is scheduled to open in November 2010.
- Andy Field and Alex Nitzman. "CANAMEX (High Priority Corridor 26)". AARoads.
- "Loop 303 Improvement Projects". Arizona Department of Transportation. Retrieved May 24, 2016.
- CANAMEX Corridor website