Ruthrauff Road interchange reconstruction project set to begin

Growing area in northwest Tucson getting modern, safer I-10 connection

PHOENIX – Though major restrictions aren’t set to begin until late winter or early spring, construction is set to begin Monday, Jan. 13, on an Arizona Department of Transportation project building a new interchange at Interstate 10 and Ruthrauff Road in northwest Tucson.

I-10 Ruthrauff EB ViewThe completed interchange will reduce delays and improve safety on Ruthrauff Road and on El Camino del Cerro west of I-10 by carrying traffic over the freeway and Union Pacific Railroad tracks. The two-year, $129 million project also will widen the freeway.

While I-10 will remain open throughout, with lane restrictions limited to overnight hours, interchange ramps will close in late winter or early spring and reopen when the project is complete. Ruthrauff Road and El Camino del Cerro will close at I-10 in late winter or early spring and reopen as the project nears completion in late 2021.

“This is an important project for the Tucson area,” said Rod Lane, ADOT’s district engineer for ADOT’s Southcentral District. “The new interchange will allow traffic to move more quickly through the area, and we’re improving safety because drivers will no longer have to cross the railroad tracks.”

The project will be similar to interchange reconstructions in recent years on I-10 at Ina and Prince roads, where the interstate was lowered and overpasses built to separate motorists and the trains that pass daily. As with the other projects, ADOT is adding capacity to I-10 as well.

Other major improvements include:

  • Widening I-10 to four lanes in each direction
  • Widening Ruthrauff Road and El Camino del Cerro to two lanes in each direction near I-10
  • Reconstructing the I-10 frontage roads to connect to the elevated interchange

Drivers should expect intermittent lane restrictions and possible delays in the initial weeks of the project. When the Ruthrauff Road interchange closes in late winter or early spring, alternate routes to I-10 for those on both sides of the freeway include Orange Grove Road to the north and Prince Road to the south. Also to the north of Ruthrauff Road, Sunset Road provides access to I-10 from the west.

Frontage road restrictions will be in place through the project, though ADOT will maintain access to all businesses. To ensure access, the eastbound frontage road south of Sunset Road will be converted to a two-way road during construction.

By springtime, I-10 westbound traffic will shift to the westbound frontage road and eastbound traffic will move to the freeway’s westbound lanes. This will allow crews to demolish the eastbound overpass and rebuild a portion of I-10. In about a year, eastbound and westbound traffic will shift to the new eastbound lanes while the westbound overpass is demolished and crews rebuild westbound I-10.

The new Ruthrauff Road overpass is expected to open to cross-traffic by fall 2021 only, with the interchange ramps opening later in the year.

The project is part of the Regional Transportation Authority’s roadway improvement plan, managed by the Pima Association of Governments.

For more information, go to azdot.gov/RuthrauffTI.

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