February 10, 2022
Officials with ADOT say pre-construction work will start on a stretch of I-17 ahead of work associated with the Interstate 17 Improvement Project.
"It'll be improvements that people have been asking for a long time, and we're finally getting to this step in the process," said ADOT Spokesperson Laura Douglas.
In a statement, ADOT officials say while work has not officially begun on the project, daytime shoulder closures and lower speed limits are necessary pre-construction work that includes geotechnical boring and drilling, bridge and culvert inspections, and survey work.
"Assessing underground conditions as part of the geotechnical work will help engineers design the freeway’s pavement, bridges, walls and drainage structures. Information on the soil, including its type, density, moisture content and strength, is essential prior to building any roadway and ensures that roads and bridges are properly designed and maintained to guarantee longevity," read a portion of the statement.
Officials say starting this week, overhead message boards along the corridor will let drivers know to expect helicopters flying overhead during daytime hours. The helicopters will haul workers and equipment to areas that are difficult to access for geotechnical investigation.
"We want to make sure that people are keeping their eyes on the road, focusing on the road, driving safe," said Douglas.
Construction on the Interstate 17 Improvement Project, according to ADOT officials, will begin later this year. The project will take part along a 23-mile stretch of the freeway from Anthem Way to Sunset Point, and it is expected to take three years to complete.
"The project includes 15 miles of widening from Anthem Way to Black Canyon City and construction of approximately eight miles of flex lanes from Black Canyon City to Sunset Point. Drivers can expect the entire 23 miles to be under construction at once and should plan their trips accordingly," read a portion of the statement.
The flex lanes will operate as a separate, two-lane roadway that carries one direction of traffic at a time, as needed. The goal is to help alleviate traffic issues, especially during busy travel times like the holidays or if a crash has taken place.