PHOENIX – A long stretch of Loop 303 is the latest to undergo an oil-based treatment to extend the life of the pavement on Valley freeways.
Completed in less than a day over this past weekend, this work represents the most miles of freeway pavement the Arizona Department of Transportation has ever refreshed in a single fog seal project. In all, 21 miles of Loop 303 from I-10 in Goodyear to Happy Valley Parkway in Peoria were treated.
“This process allows us to keep the existing rubberized asphalt pavement in place while saving valuable state highway funds for other improvements,” said Steve Boschen, who directs ADOT’s Infrastructure Delivery and Operations Division. “Similar to changing the oil in your car at regular intervals, this extends the life of the pavement.”
In the past two years, other stretches of Phoenix-area freeways, including I-10, Loop 101 and State Route 51, have also been refreshed with the pavement sealant.
These projects have benefited from employee innovations that help limit how long freeways need to be closed for fog sealing.
For example, ADOT maintenance crews fashioned large diamond-shaped metal covers that are lifted into place by workers in trucks to protect HOV-lane pavement markers when the oil-based sealant is being applied along carpool lanes. This “reverse stencil” saves time and avoids the expense of repainting HOV-lane markers at an estimated cost of $310 each.
ADOT focused on advance planning and assigning adequate resources to limit the length of closures needed for the Loop 303 improvement. Working from both ends of the project’s limits, crews finished applying the pavement seal coat in a matter of hours using a fleet of tank trucks equipped with spray nozzles.
The team also quickly picked up barricades as segments of Loop 303 were ready to reopen in stages during the day. The entire freeway reopened two hours ahead of schedule.
“This was a huge team effort with preparations that started months ago,” said Randy Everett, ADOT’s Central District administrator. “We focused on lessening the impacts on drivers. The timing of getting traffic back on the freeway exceeded expectations. That’s a tribute to all employees who had a hand in getting the job done.”
With 155 lane miles now treated along Loop 303, ADOT is looking ahead to additional pavement treatments in coming years.
“We’ve learned a lot about this type of project, especially when it comes to communication,” said Mark Kilian, ADOT project supervisor. “This involved a lot of coordination to get the closure information out to the public as well as key stakeholders so they could plan on using detour routes. Staff inside the ADOT Traffic Operations Center in Phoenix played a key role in tracking our progress and providing status updates.”
Information about ADOT state highway improvement projects is available at azdot.gov/projects.