If you have ever driven to northern Arizona, you know the only direct route from the Phoenix area is Interstate 17 (I-17). Recently, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) announced its intention to make improvements to the highway to increase capacity and safety. But, how exactly will ADOT achieve this goal?
Dorn Policy Group, Inc. is one of Arizona’s top government relations firms. We are advocacy professionals who strive to obtain the results our clients want. ADOT is one of many state agencies we have extensive experience with and are proud to work with on a number of projects. Read our blog post below and learn what the I-17 widening means for our state and future travel up north.
What is Going Into the Improvement Project?
Back in 2019, Governor Doug Ducey announced his intention to improve the I-17 north of Phoenix. The investments in the project – which exceed $300 million – will widen the interstate to three lanes along a 15 mile stretch from Anthem to Black Canyon City. Additionally, the interstate will feature an 8-mile system of flex lanes between Black Canyon City and Sunset Point.
Why Widen the I-17?
The improvements to the highway have been a high priority for elected officials and infrastructure professionals for many years. On an average weekday, about 25,000 cars travel the interstate; while on weekends that number can easily double. Moreover, if an accident happens on the highway it can significantly delay traffic.
Doug Nintzel, a spokesman for ADOT, explains, “We’ve always faced this challenge of I-17 in that Black Canyon City region being such a mountainous, winding area and it’s prone to fender benders, to crashes, to even disabled vehicles.” He continues, “It’s going to make a world of difference as we look to things like busy holiday weekends when traffic may come to a standstill, the summer months and summer weekends, the ability to have this extra traffic capacity will make a big difference. Especially if you had an incident out there.”
The Infrastructure of the I-17 Widening Project
The project will support northbound traffic by addressing key improvements, such as:
- Adding lanes to achieve three general-purpose lanes in each direction from Anthem Way to north of Coldwater Canyon Road
- Adding two flex lanes parallel to the southbound lanes from north of Coldwater Canyon Road to the Sunset Point Rest Area
- Improving bridges, drainage, traffic, and roadways to accommodate the proposed widening
- Relocating or protecting utilities in the corridor
- Adding intelligent transportation system (ITS) technology to improve traffic flow and the operation of the flex lanes
- Improving signage
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