PHOENIX — The wait is over.
For the first time, motorists traveling along Prince Road at the Interstate 10 junction will no longer be inconvenienced when one of the 40-60 trains pass daily through this area of Tucson.
Instead of waiting, motorists can now travel over — instead of under — I-10 after the Arizona Department of Transportation opened the reconstructed Prince Road traffic interchange at 5 a.m. today, just in time for the Monday morning rush-hour traffic.
The new overpass, which was built 30 feet above ground level on the east side of I-10 and slopes down to reach current ground-level, is a key part of a $76.4 million I-10 widening project between Ruthrauff and Prince roads. The project will upgrade a two-plus mile section of I-10 by increasing capacity, reducing congestion and improving traffic flow on this highly traveled corridor in Tucson.
The previous at-grade interchange experienced significant congestion and backups when trains passed through this area, sometimes causing a line of vehicles to form on the I-10 exit ramps during peak hours.
The Prince Road interchange was closed in fall 2011 and it remained closed until today.
“We want to thank the community for their support and patience, especially the nearby businesses who were affected by the ongoing construction,” said Rod Lane, ADOT Tucson district engineer. “This bridge will relieve congestion that's occurred for many years at this intersection.
“This improvement has eliminated the at-grade intersection of the railroad and the highway at this location. It will greatly increase the flow of traffic through this area and will go a long way toward increasing the safety of the traveling public. We are very excited to see the effects on travel and are pleased to work with the community and stakeholders in getting this project completed.”
While the new Prince Road interchange is now open, there is additional work on the I-10 ─ Ruthrauff Road to Prince Road widening project that needs to be completed, including at the Prince Road interchange. The eastbound I-10 entrance ramp at Prince Road will remain closed for another month so that crews can complete landscaping, electrical and barrier installation. The eastbound I-10 exit ramp is currently open and will remain open.
In addition, currently traffic is traveling on the three inside lanes of I-10 and will remain in this configuration through May when ADOT will repave the entire project when temperatures are ideal for this work. Once final paving is completed, I-10 will be expanded to four lanes in each direction.
Following today’s opening, some overnight closures will be needed to complete additional work on I-10 between Ruthrauff Road and Prince Road, including:
- Metal artwork at the Prince Road Bridge
- Sign structures and existing detour removal
- Electrical connections for the high mast lighting
- Loop detectors on eastbound I-10 for traffic volume counts and speed classification
- Message board installation on eastbound I-10
- Rubberized asphalt paving (scheduled to occur in early May)
For more information on the project, please visit azdot.gov/tucson10widening.