An Article on I-10 Widening Through Downtown Tucson
- From: "Jason Pawloski" <jpawloski@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: 16 Feb 2007 20:34:12 -0800
Zipping on Interstate 10 for a quick trip to Phoenix will take some
advanced planning for the next three years or so.
As the Star has reported several times, the Arizona Department of
Transportation has a contract with Kiewit/Sundt Joint Venture to widen
Interstate 10 from three lanes to four in each direction between West
Prince Road and West 29th Street.
We're looking forward to the expected results - an eight-lane segment
of freeway (four through lanes in each direction) with new bridges and
underpasses at several cross streets. However, expect inevitable
delays, especially through June.
The $200 million, 4.5-mile project is the largest highway
transportation venture in Southern Arizona history, according to
Before the work on the interstate itself can begin, crews will be
preparing the frontage roads, moving utilities and building a state-of-
the-art transportation operations center for the next few months.
These steps are necessary precursors to the June shutdown of on- and
off-ramps between Prince Road and 29th Street, according to ADOT and
city officials who met with the Star's Editorial Board earlier this
Once the exit and entrance ramps are closed, there will be only two
lanes of traffic in each direction on the interstate itself. The
frontage roads will carry local traffic while the ramps are closed.
Greg Gentsch, Tucson district engineer, told us that traffic should
flow 24/7. The portion of the interstate without ramp access will
function like an an expressway - no cars entering and exiting - so
there should be few slowdowns. The improvements to the frontage roads
should accommodate extra traffic and provide access to local
businesses. The traffic signals on the frontage roads will be only at
That state-of-the-art operations center will be critical: 72 cameras
will be monitoring the interstate, giving continuous updates for
motorists and emergency vehicles.
With the city's construction of a new Fourth Avenue Underpass at the
east end of Congress Street and the Barraza-Aviation Parkway (Arizona
210) ending at Broadway, also on the east end of Downtown, there is
significant traffic-tangle potential.
Signage, working with Downtown employers to encourage telecommuting
and flexible hours so the ingress and egress of the Downtown areas are
not overwhelming at peak times, and developing more public
transportation are some of the mitigating steps being taken, according
to Laurel Parker, design project manager, and Jim Glock, Tucson
Most of the confusion - what's closed and when? - should occur before
June's Big Switch. The Star's Andrea Kelly is providing weekly updates
The traffic cones and cranes are bound to bother our community's well-
formed travel habits and routines. However, the improvements to
Interstate 10 are necessary, and we're already looking forward to
While there are bound to be frustrations and glitches during the next
3 1/2 years, ADOT and city officials have put together a reasonable
mitigation plan to keep traffic moving and tempers even.
We encourage looking at your travel routine, planning ahead for the
interstate and Downtown construction, and trying some new routes and
seeing new areas of the city. Also, check out alternative
transportation, such as carpooling.
(rest of article discusses something else and has thus been snipped)