Sunday marked the start of a major road project designed to move traffic more efficiently.
For the months ahead, however, that project will involve disruptions to traffic flow in the Buckeye area.
This week, the Arizona Department of Transportation is starting work on a $82 million Interstate 10 widening project. It will stretch from State Route 85 to Verrado Way and will involve many components — including creation of two divergent interchanges.
Improvements include adding a third general purpose lane in each direction on I-10.
ADOT will reconstruction the interchanges at Miller and Watson roads.
A diverging diamond design will be created at both points along I-10. A DDI is a diamond interchange on which the two directions of traffic on the cross street — above or below a freeway — and cross to the opposite side on both sides of the bridge at the freeway.
Drivers not only mut slow down along two curves in the interchange, but must also watch for a yellow or red light. Drivers are positioned to see traffic coming in front of their path, rather than from a 90-degree angle.
ADOT officials say DDIs can reduce the number and severity of crashes compared with traditional diamond interchanges, while reducing traffic congestion. The design also provides an opportunity to integrate multimodal facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and transit into the interchange, the agency says.
ADOT also says there are fewer impacts on the local community during the construction process by using DDIs.
Crews also will construct new drainage facilities, storm drains, catch basins and sound walls and will install a freeway management system.
ADOT officials say following an intensive study of the design by the Federal Highway Administration, the first such DDI intersection in the U.S. was completed in Springfield, Missouri, in 2009. In the U.S., more than 90 DDIs have been constructed in 29 states, including one at Happy Valley Road and Interstate 17.
The design has increased in popularity because of safety, operational and cost benefits, ADOT says
Nighttime I-10 lane restrictions
Drivers who use eastboudn and westbound I-10 through the Buckeye area should be prepared for traffic delays as the freeway continues to be narrowed to one lane from State Route 85 to Watson Road.
These delays will take place Sunday through Thursday nights, 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., to allow crews to establish temporary concrete barrier and re-stripe the freeway to allow for a safe work zone in the median.
Crews are scheduled to pave the newly built 253rd Avenue to the west of Miller Road and anticipate opening the new road to traffic on Thursday, Aug. 19.
Yuma Road is scheduled to close at Miller Road once 253rd Avenue is opened to traffic. Business access will be maintained.
Crews will install underground city sewer lines and utilities at Miller Road and maintain one lane of traffic on northbound and southbound Miller.
I-10 drivers should continue to be alert and prepared for delays as heavy trucks hauling material from south Miller Road to the center median will be entering and exiting the freeway.
Trucks will use the SR 85 interchange south to Broadway Road to reconnect with Miller Road through Friday, Sept. 10.
Drivers should be prepared to slow down, and use caution around construction personnel and equipment.
Construction will require periodic restrictions and closures on I-10, interchange ramps and the cross streets at Watson and Miller roads.
To minimize impacts to drivers and businesses during construction of the interchanges, only one interchange will be constructed at a time, with the Miller Road interchange to be constructed first.
Restrictions and closures will be minimized to the extent possible to lessen impacts.
ADOT will provide advance notice about specific lane restrictions or closures as those become available.
Buckeye Mayor Eric Orsborn said he knows the delays, detours and closures will be dificult for area residents.
"There's going to be some pain," Orsborn said. "Twice -- once for Miller Road, and again for Watson. But it's going to be so nice to have that extra lane and to have those interchanges set for years to come."
Orsborn, who has lived in the Verrado community with his family for more than 16 years, said he knows the Jackrabbit Trail exit along I-10 isn't part of the project. However, he feels that's a dangerous interchange, and hopes some major or temporary rememdy work can be done at that junction soon.
Orsborn said he likes the divergent diamond interchange design. Though many area residents will have never used one before, he thinks the transition will go smoothly.
"It's an easier, simpler way to go through an intersection," Orsborn said.