By Tom Herrmann / ADOT Communications
Those driving west Thursday morning on Interstate 10, just after Picacho Peak, were the first to experience one of the most significant changes since I-10 arrived in central Arizona more than 50 years ago.
But chances are they were halfway through 4 miles of the newest freeway pavement in Arizona before realizing that anything had changed. The tweet above shows traffic flowing there.
Almost a year to the day since we began clearing and grubbing to make room for a new, wider stretch of I-10, with three lanes in each direction, we’ve opened the new westbound lanes
from milepost 213 to milepost 209 near Eloy. Eastbound traffic will move to new pavement about a month from now, separated by concrete barrier while temporarily sharing what eventually will be pavement only for westbound traffic.
Drivers may not notice because there isn't as much as a turn onto the new pavement. In fact, we’ve removed a slight turn to the left for westbound drivers, creating a straight road up to State Route 87. The road will go under a new interchange with SR 87, then veer left to reconnect with the existing westbound lanes.
Once everyone is on the new pavement, we’ll demolish the current lanes of I-10 over that 4-mile segment and use the dirt and cement as a base for the new eastbound lanes. Eastbound drivers will get their own new lanes sometime this spring.
Then we’ll do something that hasn’t been done before: building an innovative system to identify dust storms
and give drivers the information they need to make smart, safe decisions when blowing dust makes it hard to see where you’re driving.
Together, more travel lanes and dust detection will make I-10 safer, which is the reason we’re doing all of this in the first place.