Traveler Alert! Overnight I-17 closures start Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 between Anthem Way and Sunset Point

Closures in both directions scheduled on weeknights for next eight months for controlled rock blasting; Plan ahead to avoid major delays

PHOENIX – Drivers who travel I-17 at night will need to plan ahead to avoid major delays as the highway is closed regularly during the weeknight overnight hours for controlled rock blasting over the next several months. The blasting is necessary work as part of the I-17 Improvement Project from Anthem Way to Sunset Point.I-17 improvement project

As part of a safety-based operation, the first full closures are scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 30 from 10 to 11 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 1 from 10 to 11 p.m. During the next approximately eight months, the full closures will take place two to three times a week Mondays through Thursdays. 

Generally, blasting will occur between 10 and 11 p.m. However, the window of time for this work to occur is between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. The start and end times of each closure could vary based on blast-site, weather and traffic conditions, or other unforeseen circumstances.

On weeknights when controlled rock blasting is scheduled, crews will begin narrowing I-17 to a single lane in both directions at 7 p.m. and then fully close the highway after 10 p.m. Drivers should expect delays while crews set up traffic control, and use caution around construction personnel and equipment.

Motorists planning to travel on I-17 during the overnight hours should leave early or delay travel to avoid the closures entirely. Motorists who travel between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. should expect to be impacted by the closures on nights when blasting occurs. Safety is the number one priority when conducting controlled rock blasting operations. The roadway cannot be reopened until the operation is completed successfully and all debris is cleared from the roadway. 

Overhead message signs alerting drivers to the upcoming closures will be displayed ahead of the closure areas. These signs will also advise drivers to reduce speeds and prepare for stopped traffic.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is strongly encouraging everyone to stay informed about the weekly overnight full closures. Here’s how drivers can plan ahead:

  • Get real-time traffic conditions at AZ511.gov or by calling 511 (except while driving). You can also download the AZ511 app. Updates about the start of the closures and the reopening of the highway once the blasting and clearing operations are complete will be communicated in real time via AZ511 so drivers know what to expect. Field crews will be coordinating closely with ADOT’s Traffic Operations Center. 
  • Drivers can also consult AZ511 if they wish to take an alternate route.
  • To see the dates when controlled rock blasting is scheduled, visit the Traffic Alerts page on the project website, improvingi17.com
  • Sign up for emailed traffic alerts via the pop-up box on the home page of improvingi17.com so you can plan your trips accordingly. 
  • Work crews will provide project information on work zone signage and overhead message boards along the I-17 project corridor. 

More about the I-17 Improvement Project:

Once complete, the I-17 Improvement Project will help alleviate congestion and improve safety and traffic flow north of the metro Phoenix region. The 23 miles of improvements include 15 miles of roadway widening from Anthem Way to Black Canyon City. One travel lane will be added in each direction along this stretch. In addition, an eight-mile flex lane system will be constructed from Black Canyon City to Sunset Point. Flex lanes are a new feature for Arizona’s highway system and are proven technology to help reduce congestion on I-17 during peak travel times and allow for traffic movement during emergency situations.

The I-17 flex lanes will operate as a separate, two-lane roadway carrying one direction of traffic at a time depending on the greatest need along the steep, winding eight miles between Black Canyon City and Sunset Point. For example, the flex lanes will be able to carry heavy northbound traffic on a Friday or heavy southbound traffic on a Sunday. Similarly, ADOT will be able to open the flex lanes to accommodate traffic any time if a crash or other incident causes long delays.

The two flex lanes will be next to, but physically separated from southbound I-17 using concrete barriers. Access to the flex-lane entrances will be controlled by gates. Overhead message signs will alert drivers to the open direction of the flex lanes. The flex lanes will be operational seven days a week. 

For more information about the I-17 Improvement Project, visit improvingi17.com, call 877.476.1717 or email [email protected].