I-17 101 traffic interchange

Fortuna Wash Bridge outside Yuma opens Thursday

Fortuna Wash Bridge outside Yuma opens Thursday

December 14, 2016

YUMA – Yuma-area drivers no longer have to worry about sudden rainstorms flooding Fortuna Wash and shutting down US 95, the area’s primary north-south route.

Starting Thursday, Dec. 15, traffic will begin flowing over a new bridge connecting Yuma with Interstate 10, Quartzsite and the rest of western Arizona. The bridge is expected to open Thursday afternoon.

“This is a great day for southwest Arizona,” said Paul Patane, ADOT district engineer. “Our community relies on US 95 every day of the year, and this bridge means a clear route for the people who live here and important commercial carriers.

Final work on the bridge and US 95 will continue until spring. Drivers should expect a 45-mph speed limit in the area until work is complete.

US 95 is the only north-south route connecting Yuma with Interstate 10 and Arizona locations along the Colorado River. Until now, it has taken drivers through the wash and has been subject to unexpected closures during heavy rains.

The bridge will make US 95 a safer and more-reliable route for agricultural shipments, international trade and seasonal visitors. It also will make travel more reliable for employees and cargo shipments at Yuma Proving Ground, a U.S. Army facility with more than 3,000 military and civilian employees. The area’s largest employer, it is one of the largest military installations in the world and home to General Motors’ hot-weather vehicle test facility. It has an economic impact of more than $430 million annually.

The $15 million project is partially funded by a $3.2 million federal grant.