Dating back to the late 1950s, Interstate 17 (Black Canyon Freeway) is one of two Arizona Interstate highways that lies entirely within the state borders. In addition to serving as a major north-south artery for metro Phoenix commuters and travelers, I-17 is an important route for interstate commerce. It serves as the connection for Interstate 40 and Interstate 10, two of the nation’s major east-west routes.
Until recently, this section of I-17 had not been upgraded since it was first constructed, and operated more like a rural highway than a major urban freeway. Limited capacity, coupled with the explosive growth in the region during the past decade, had contributed to a dramatic increase in traffic congestion on I-17 – particularly north of Loop 101 to New River, where I-17 previously narrowed to two lanes in each direction.
Funding for improvements to I-17 and other Valley freeways was approved by voters in November 2004, with the passage of Proposition 400, which continued an existing half-cent sales tax until December 31, 2025, for improvements identified in the Regional Transportation Plan.
The plan was spearheaded by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) through an extensive public process to identify regional transportation priorities. Funding for the plan became effective in January 2006.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is charged with implementing the highway component of the Regional Transportation Plan, which includes $9 billion in new freeways, widening existing freeways, new interchanges, rubberized asphalt - noise mitigation and freeway maintenance.
In 2007, ADOT embarked on a massive I-17 expansion project between Loop 101 and Anthem Way in the north Valley to add new lanes, construct new interchanges and reconstruct outdated ones to improve freeway access. By early 2010, all new lanes had opened to traffic and the new and reconstructed interchanges had been completed. In spring 2010, the newly-completed lanes between Jomax Road and Anthem Way – as well as the existing lanes between Anthem Way and New River Road – were paved with a top coat of smooth, rubberized asphalt, when temperatures were ideal to complete this work.
Construction of all I-17 improvements between Loop 101 and SR 74 (Carefree Highway) are now complete.
Please see the I-17 map for more information about each of the improvements.
||Our Valley Freeway System is part of the 2004 voter-approved Regional Transportation Plan. We are working hard with our transit partners to implement the voters’ vision and are committed to quality, safety, open communication with our neighbors, and minimal inconvenience to the traveling public.