Creative destruction in process on I-17 at Central Avenue

By David Rookhuyzen / ADOT Communications

I-17 Central Avenue Bridge Replacement Project_071120

There's an idea out there called creative destruction. It basically says that tearing down the old is sometimes necessary to make way for the new. This has been applied to everything from economics to the arts, but we found it very fitting recently for our project on Interstate 17 over Central Avenue.

As you can see in these photos, crews spent a busy weekend recently tearing down the old southbound bridge. Now that the old bridge (built in 1962, by the way) is gone, we can go ahead and start building its replacement. Traffic was switched to using only the northbound bridge back in June. When the southbound bridge is finished early next year, traffic will be switched again to use that and the whole process of creative destruction will begin on the northbound side.

Drivers should continue to expect delays in the area while I-17 is narrowed to two lanes in each direction. They should also consider using Interstate 10 if they are going beyond the downtown area. 

But we aren't tearing down just to erect something similar in its place. The new bridge will raise the clearance on Central Avenue from 14 to 16 feet, which will also allow for the future extension of the Valley Metro light rail south of the downtown area. Plus, the structure will be wide enough to accommodate future work to add auxiliary, or merge, lanes along the right shoulder of I-17 in both directions between the on- and off-ramps at Seventh Street and Seventh Avenue.

Once the creative destruction is all over, we think you’ll like what we will have created.

The whole $13.5 million project is scheduled to wrap up in fall 2021. You can learn more on our website