Hell Canyon bridge replacement project is underway

Hell Canyon bridge replacement project is underway

July 23, 2015

Hell Canyon

Despite the name, Hell Canyon Bridge actually sits in a delightful part of the state.

Located within Yavapai County on State Route 89, the nearly 600-foot bridge is about 18 miles north of Chino Valley and has served as an important link between Prescott and northern Arizona since it was built in 1954.

SR 89 Hell Canyon Bridge (July 2015)

ADOT has started a project that will replace the Hell Canyon Bridge with a new four-span steel-plate girder bridge. Click on the photos above to view slideshow.

Back then, according to the Historic Bridge Inventory, the three-span steel deck truss bridge cost the Arizona Highway Department $325,000 to build.

Now, 61 years later, ADOT has embarked on a $14.4 million improvement project that will replace the historic bridge with a new four-span steel-plate girder bridge.

That brand new 665-foot-long two-lane bridge will feature wider travel lanes and will be approximately 47 feet wide, more than 17 feet wider than the current bridge. The bridge will also accommodate heavier loads, ensuring commercial trucks can conveniently carry goods and produce to their final destinations, particularly when I-40 traffic is diverted onto SR 89 during serious crashes.

What drivers need to know

Motorists can expect limited impacts during construction! Traffic gets to remain on the existing bridge throughout construction because the new bridge is being built east of the current bridge.

Crews have already started work, as you can see in the photos above…

The first phase of the project, which is expected to take up to 12 months to complete, will include construction of the new bridge as well as temporary access roads along the north and south sides of the canyon to assist with bridge construction and removal (this project animation provides a good idea of what to expect).

Daytime blasting operations, which began on July 14, will be required for the construction of the access roads and intermittent closures will be necessary during that time. Delays of up to 20 minutes are possible until blasting operations are completed by the end of next month. ADOT will send advance notice to the public when any closure dates are finalized.

After the new bridge is completed, traffic will be switched to the new bridge. The existing Hell Canyon Bridge will then be dismantled and removed, which is expected to take up to three months. Additional road construction/realignment will be necessary to the north and south of the new bridge.

For more details, please visit the project page.