Some of the Arizona Department of Transportation’s biggest projects this year will occur in southern Arizona.
ADOT will continue replacing the interchange at Ajo Way (State Route 86) and Interstate 19 in Tucson. A project to create a modern interchange at Ina Road and I-10 in Marana will advance to include a two-year closure of Ina Road starting Feb. 15, making way for construction of a bridge carrying a widened Ina Road over the interstate and Union Pacific railroad tracks.
A project scheduled to begin later this year will advance plans for a dust detection and warning system on I-10 between Eloy and Picacho, helping to make travel between Tucson and Phoenix safer through an area prone to sudden blowing dust.
Other 2017 projects include the first use in Arizona of a temporary bridge to keep traffic flowing while crews repair I-10 bridges over Craycroft Road in Tucson. In February, crews will assemble the ready-made bridge and then slide it into place for use by one direction of travel when that bridge is being worked on. The bonus for drivers as this project continues until late summer: no detours.
East of Tucson, ADOT is planning a $400,000 project this summer to install traffic lights at I-10 interchanges with Kolb, Rita, Houghton, Wentworth and Wilmot roads, helping accommodate increasing traffic to and from this growing area.
Crews began preliminary work last summer on a $120 million project to create a modern Ina Road/I-10 interchange in Marana, but the greatest impact on drivers will begin in February, when ADOT closes Ina Road at I-10 for two years. When work is completed, a bridge will carry a wider Ina Road – two lanes in each direction – over both I-10 and railroad tracks that carry between 40 and 60 trains a day.
The Ina Road/I-10 project is funded in part by the Regional Transportation Authority, managed by the Pima Association of Governments. The Town of Marana is providing $25 million for work that will widen Ina Road and reconstruct Ina Road bridges over the Santa Cruz River west of I-10.
On Interstate 19 in Tucson, work will continue on a $40 million, two-year project rebuilding the traffic interchange at Ajo Way (State Route 86). When completed in summer 2019, the interchange will carry a wider Ajo Way over I-19 and feature a new intersection that controls all traffic entering and exiting the freeway at a single point rather than at multiple locations.
The project, the first of two phases of improvements in this growing area of west Tucson, also includes: widening Ajo Way from two to three lanes in each direction between 16th Avenue (east of I-19) and the Santa Cruz River bridge (west of I-19); widening the southbound I-19 off-ramp at Irvington Road to provide an additional turn lane and increased capacity to prevent traffic from backing up onto the interstate; reconstructing Lamar Avenue west of I-19; and repaving Elizabeth Drive and closing off access to Elizabeth Drive.
Between Tucson and Casa Grande, preliminary work is scheduled to begin later this year on a $12.8 million dust detection and warning system along 10 miles of I-10 between Eloy and Picacho Peak. When it detects dust approaching the interstate, the system will trigger safety measures including reduced speed limits and electronic message boards. This project, made possible by a $54 million federal FASTLANE grant also helping fund two widening projects between Casa Grande and Tucson, will be completed in 2019 with the widening of four miles of I-10 near State Route 87 in Eloy to three lanes in each direction.
Among other notable southern Arizona projects in 2017:
- Work will continue through May on a $4.3 million project replacing the State Route 92 bridge over the San Pedro River between Sierra Vista and Bisbee. The bridge will be replaced one half at a time while a temporary traffic signal controls vehicles moving in both directions.
- In Nogales, residents, business owners and others will have the chance to provide input on alternatives for improving State Route 189, also known as Mariposa Road, a 3.75-mile stretch connecting Interstate 19 with the Mariposa Port of Entry. The meeting is expected to be held later this winter.
For information about other current and planned projects in Greater Arizona, visit azdot.gov/projects.