Upcoming bridge removal means most tall trucks will be able to avoid detour through town

Many drivers may remember that ADOT demolished the old Marsh Station Bridge back in 2011 (in case you don’t recall, here’s a blog post to refresh your memory).

Crews took down that bridge because a new interchange had been built to accommodate taller traffic – the old Marsh Station Bridge had a clearance of only 15 feet, which was too low for most commercial trucks to clear. But, even after the Marsh Station Bridge demo, tall trucks still have had to maneuver a winding, two-lane, 67-mile detour because there’s another bridge that stands in the way.

However, that bridge – the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge – soon will come down, allowing the safe passage of most commercial trucks through the area.

The demo date is set for March 8 and the removal will require an overnight closure on I-10. We’ll blog more about the closure soon, but for today we wanted to focus on how the completion of this project will impact a community…

The small town of Sonoita sits along that 67-mile detour and has had to endure a lot of the truck traffic unable to travel on I-10.

“It was a large impact on the county and our road system,” says Cochise County Supervisor Richard Searle in the video above. “Now the removal of the railroad bridge is going to make it a lot better for Cochise County.”

Local business owner Karyl Wilhelm echoes his comments.

“We feel, in this community, this is going to be a much better, more improved system to not have the oversized loads on our little two-lane highway,” she says.

More on the project
The Union Pacific Railroad Bridge removal is part of a $17.2 million improvement project, which also includes the following features:

  • Construction of two new bridges at Cienega Creek. The new bridges will be higher than the existing bridges to ensure that the highway is not impacted by water flowing in Cienega Creek during heavy rains. 
  • Bank protection for Cienega Creek. The construction includes a new retaining wall, new drainage and safety features, and salvaging and replanting the existing natural landscaping.
  • Reconstruction and realignment of the westbound lanes of I-10 and reconstruction of the eastbound lanes of I-10. Road realignment will allow for the construction of a widened median that will enhance safety and lessen traffic impacts when the project is complete. 

The project schedule is subject to change due to a variety of reasons, including weather, availability of materials, and mechanical difficulties. ADOT advises drivers to proceed through or near work zones with caution, slow down, and be alert for construction equipment and personnel.