Grading on the curve is about to begin, and not just because it is back-to-school time.
A 3 1/2-year, 11-mile rebuilding and widening of Interstate 10, including the headache-inducing Broadway Curve in Tempe, begins late Friday, July 23, with a weekend closure of westbound I-10 in the area as bulldozers and graders arrive.
“Drivers should prepare for weekend closures of Interstate 10 and U.S. 60,” said Arizona Department of Transportation spokeswoman Alexandra Albert. “The reason is that over the weekends we’ll be closing them down to remove rubberized asphalt on all of the travel lanes.”
Westbound I-10 will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Monday from Loop 202 north through West Chandler, South Tempe, Ahwatukee and Guadalupe to the 60. Westbound I-10 on-ramps at Loop 202, Chandler Boulevard, Ray, Warner and Elliot roads will also be closed.
This is the first of at least eight weekend closures on I-10 or U.S. 60/Superstition Freeway this summer.
The second will be on eastbound I-10 from U.S. 60 south to Loop 202 from 10 p.m. Friday, July 30, through 4 a.m. Monday, Aug. 2.
At least 50 closures are forecast by ADOT on I-10 over the next 3 1/2 years, mostly nights and weekends.
A massive Arizona Department of Transportation public-information blitz got under way this week, as well, to educate drivers about what to expect with restrictions, closures and best alternate routes.
ADOT anticipates this first phase of work will continue through early September while crews remove rubberized asphalt. The driving surfaces will be restored after construction is completed in late 2024.
Upcoming weekend closures will be in segments of 1 to 7 miles, in one direction at a time.
32nd AND 40th STREET RAMP CLOSURES WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY ON I-10
Arizona Department of Transportation plans eastbound I-10 on-ramp closures from late Wednesday, July 21, to early Thursday, July 22. Crews will be performing pre-construction geotechnical work in preparation for the Friday, July 23, beginning of the I-10 Broadway Curve Improvement Project.
Ramp closures include:
- Eastbound I-10 on-ramp at 32nd Street, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday. Detour: Northbound 32nd Street drivers should travel north to Broadway Road, then travel east on Broadway Road to 40th Street to access eastbound I-10.
- Eastbound I-10 on-ramp at 40th Street, 10 p.m. Wednesday to 4 a.m. Thursday. Detour: Northbound 40th Street drivers should travel north on 40th Street to University Drive to State Route 143 to access eastbound I-10.
ADOT advises drivers to slow down and use caution around construction personnel and equipment while work is underway.
The $777 million I-10 Broadway Curve Improvement Project, a partnership among ADOT, Federal Highway Administration and Maricopa Association of Governments, begins just south of Ray Road on Interstate 10 and continues north through West Chandler, South Tempe, Ahwatukee and Guadalupe, and then around the Broadway Curve and west to the I-10 split at Interstate 17 near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
The project, the first major freeway rebuild in the Valley, is funded in part by Maricopa Association of Government’s Proposition 400, a half-cent sales tax that was approved by Maricopa County voters in 2004.
START LOOKING AT ALTERNATE ROUTES
Now, according to ADOT, is a good time to start looking at other ways to get to Sky Harbor or downtown Phoenix from South Tempe and West Chandler. A good alternate route is Loop 101 north to Loop 202 west.
Those heading to the West Valley and beyond should consider the new Loop 202/South Mountain Freeway.
With I-10 traffic congesting those alternate routes, ADOT advises drivers to add about 20 minutes to their trip to the airport and a half hour to downtown.
South Tempe and West Chandler residents also can expect a load of increased traffic on surface streets as drivers pull off of I-10 and scramble to avoid construction delays. ADOT said it will do its best to discourage this by posting preferred alternate routes.
Nearly 300,000 vehicles a day pass through the Broadway Curve. Among the current headaches on the roughly half-mile, congested, curved stretch: Vehicles change lanes to the left quickly from westbound U.S. 60 to merge onto westbound I-10, and Sky Harbor-bound traffic on westbound 10 crosses lanes to the right quickly to merge onto State Route 143.
It often is like a half-mile rolling blender.
The project also includes:
- Adding a fourth general-purpose lane in each direction on I-10 from Ray Road north to U.S. 60 while retaining the HOV lane. Current overpasses at Ray, Warner, Elliot and Guadalupe roads are wide enough to accommodate the additional lanes below and will not need to be rebuilt.
- I-10 will be expanded to six general-purpose lanes and two HOV lanes in each direction from U.S. 60 through the Broadway Curve west to 24th Street. I-10 bridges over the Salt River will be modified to accommodate the additional lanes.
- State Route 143 will be expanded to three lanes over the bridge at University Drive, where it currently squeezes down to two lanes before resuming three lanes on the other side of the bridge.
- State Route 143, Broadway Road and 48thStreet interchanges near the airport will be demolished and rebuilt. The new State Route 143 interchange will feature five bridges. Among the new ones are a dedicated HOV-lane bridge over westbound 10 onto northbound 143, a “flyover” bridge from southbound 143 onto southbound 10, and a collector-distributor-lane bridge from northbound 10 onto northbound 143.
- The project gets a downtown-Los Angeles freeway twist through the curve with the debut of collector-distributor lanes for westbound drivers entering or exiting I-10 at Baseline Road, U.S. 60, Broadway Road and State Route 143 that separate local traffic from through traffic. That is designed to reduce congestion on the high-speed through lanes and eliminate tight lane changes on the curve. Collector-distributor lanes are new to Arizona. They are freeway lanes connected to the exits for drivers attempting to get on or off of I-10 at those interchanges, an attempt to get exiting traffic off the main lanes of I-10. Through traffic will remain on the main lanes.
- Alterations on U.S. 60 from Hardy Drive approaching the I-10 interchange.
- Three pedestrian bridges over I-10 constructed south of Broadway.
- Wrong-way driver detectors with thermal cameras and flashing signs.
Pulice-FNF-Flatiron Joint Venture has been chosen as the preferred developer by representatives of ADOT, Phoenix, Tempe and Maricopa Association of Governments. Key members of the development team include Pulice Construction, Inc., FNF Construction, Inc., Flatiron Constructors, Inc., and T.Y. Lin International.
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