Arizona is going to see some changes to Interstate 17 north of Phoenix with the announcement of significant improvements to the freeway.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced the improvements Thursday. He was joined by the directors of the Arizona Department of Transportation, Arizona Department of Public Safety and Arizona Office of Tourism, along with business leaders, local elected officials and transportation stakeholders.
The announced improvements are the result of joint efforts from a state, local and federal partnership, including $130 million proposed in Mr. Ducey’s executive budget and included in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget signed earlier this year.
“On busy days, this stretch of Interstate 17 can see more than 50,000 drivers a day – and we want to make sure every one of them gets to their destination safely and without long delays,” Mr. Ducey stated. “My thanks to ADOT Director Halikowski, U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally, and our local and regional partners who have worked together to make this investment possible. With these improvements, Arizona is building better roads for a better future – with more to come.”
Investments topping $300 million will widen I-17 to three lanes along 15 miles between Anthem and Black Canyon City and build an eight-mile system of flex lanes on the grade between Black Canyon City and Sunset Point. The project is set to begin by spring 2021, with completion of all improvements expected by 2023.
“Investing in critical transportation infrastructure will drive Arizona’s 21st century economy and support future prosperity,” Mr. Halikowski stated. “Improving I-17 has been a priority for many years, and it is exciting to see that dream becoming a reality thanks to this collaboration led by Governor Ducey.”
The I-17 flex lanes will operate as a separate two-lane roadway carrying one direction of traffic at a time depending on the greatest need along the steep, winding eight miles between Black Canyon City and Sunset Point. For example, the flex lanes will be able to carry heavier northbound traffic on a Friday or southbound traffic on a Sunday and also can keep traffic moving if there is a closure in that stretch.
In addition to the $130 million included in this year’s budget, the Maricopa Association of Governments, the regional planning agency, is investing $50 million in the widening.
U.S. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally have provided their support, along with others in Arizona’s congressional delegation. ADOT also recently won a highly competitive $90 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant that will go toward the project.
I-17 is located entirely within the state of Arizona.
Editor's Note: Information from the Arizona Department of Transportation.