I-10 Interstate 10

Drone video shows progress on I-10 widening in northwest Tucson

Drone video shows progress on I-10 widening in northwest Tucson


Drone video shows progress on I-10 widening in northwest Tucson

Drone video shows progress on I-10 widening in northwest Tucson

By Garin Groff / ADOT Communications
November 2, 2023
Construction heavy equipment demos a bridge.

Motorists get a front row seat every day to the big changes unfolding as ADOT rebuilds and widens I-10 in northwest Tucson, which is something we just noted in this recent news release that the project is 25% complete.

But now we can give drivers an even better view —  one from above — thanks to this drone video showing crews working to improve I-10 between Ina and Ruthrauff roads.

The video makes it clear everything that made up the old I-10 is gone, from bridges to pavement, and guardrails to signs. That’s allowed crews to prepare for the new concrete roadway to go down later this year. 

Also by the end of 2023, bridge girders will start rising from the work site as crews build nine new structures.

Those new concrete roadway and bridges will carry four lanes of traffic in each direction, one more than the previous configuration. At the same time, the entrance and exit ramps at Orange Grove and Sunset roads will feature additional lanes. 

Motorists can expect to continue using the old frontage roads through late 2024. Then, ADOT will shift traffic onto the newly rebuilt segment of I-10 and the newly rebuilt Orange Grove Road interchange. Traffic will be able to use the rebuilt Sunset Road interchange when the project wraps up in late 2025.

We’ll share more video and photos as the project continues to move forward. 

Until then, keep in mind ADOT is working to minimize construction impacts. That’s why we’re keeping three lanes of traffic open on the frontage road during daytime hours and maintaining access to area businesses.

I-10 Wild Horse Pass Corridor Reaches Major Milestone

I-10 Wild Horse Pass Corridor Reaches Major Milestone


I-10 Wild Horse Pass Corridor Reaches Major Milestone

I-10 Wild Horse Pass Corridor Reaches Major Milestone

By John Halikowski / ADOT Director
September 6, 2022

A significant milestone has been reached toward improving Interstate 10 south of the metro-Phoenix area, known as the Wild Horse Pass Corridor. 

The Arizona Department of Transportation has published the draft study recommendations for the I-10 improvements between the Loop 202 Freeway (Santan/South Mountain) and State Route 387. It’s an important milestone in improving the 26-mile stretch of I-10 between Phoenix and Casa Grande.

The draft Environmental Assessment and Design Concept Report are available for public review and comment. These documents identify the recommended approach to widening I-10 and modifying traffic interchanges and crossroads, with the goals of reducing congestion and the frequency and number of crashes.

ADOT has been working with the Gila River Indian Community, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Federal Highway Administration and the Maricopa Association of Governments to develop a vision and strategy to improve I-10, a Key Commerce Corridor. By working together, we are connecting communities and keeping motorists safe. I’m proud of the partnerships we’ve developed and will continue to foster in the years to come.

The public comment period runs through Oct. 9. During the comment period, ADOT will host three in-person public hearings and one virtual public hearing. You can find the dates, locations and times on the study website, along with how to submit a comment. You can also review the draft EA and DCR documents on the website.

I encourage anyone who uses I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson to participate in this important part of the study process. We need to ensure that all voices are heard before a final decision is made.

We look forward to hearing from you and for more milestone moments ahead for the Wild Horse Pass Corridor!

Arizona balladeer sings of 'Scrubby,' holidays, nostalgia

Arizona balladeer sings of 'Scrubby,' holidays, nostalgia


Arizona balladeer sings of 'Scrubby,' holidays, nostalgia

Arizona balladeer sings of 'Scrubby,' holidays, nostalgia

By Laurie Merrill / ADOT Communications
December 15, 2021

Days of yore, holiday drives to grandma’s house and Arizona highways are among the topics that Dolan Ellis, Arizona’s official State Balladeer, has captured in his songs about the state.  

“Historians write the history, but balladeers bring it to life,” Dolan said during a visit to ADOT, when the agency’s Video Team recorded his rich baritone as he performed three of his ballads, "Scrubby," "Rock Springs" and "I-10 Highway."

Two of these songs have ties to the holiday season, making this a good time to revisit and share Ellis' melodies.


While we’re not certain of Scrubby’s condition these days, for more than three decades, the cedar tree in the median of Interstate 17 at Sunset Point has thrilled passersby with holiday finery secretly applied in the middle of the night. With its glowing lights, ornaments and tinsel, it has become a shining beacon of seasonal spirit for motorists.

Perhaps no Arizonan has captured this mystery better than Ellis in this ode to an evergreen. It begins:

Out in Arizona there’s a story to be told. 
Of Scrubby, the little cedar tree, that grows beside the road. 
I-17 to Flagstaff, from the desert down below, 
And a random act of kindness by some secret, caring soul. 

It brings a smile to every face that passes by that sight. 
Scrubby becomes a rock star, and for him this song I write. 

 “Rock Springs” 

In the mid-1950s, it could take eight hours to travel by car from Flagstaff to Phoenix. This song, written by Dean Cook, Lon Austin, and Tony Norris, is about family’s holiday trip to Phoenix, with the children, the dog and grandma's tree in the back – before Interstate 17 Black Canyon Freeway was completed in 1978. 

"Rock Springs" tells of a meandering route through Oak Creek Canyon, the Cleopatra Mine, Mayer and Bumble Bee. Much of this was along the Old Black Canyon Highway, scratched out of the 1878 Black Canyon stagecoach trail. It begins:  

It was snowing up in Flagstaff but we knew that the desert would be hot. 
So we crawled beneath the blankets. The dog always got the warmest spot, woof woof. 
It was 2 days to Christmas and we crawled into the back of dad’s old truck. 
Eight hours down to Phoenix -- if we didn’t run out of water, tires or luck. 

“I-10 Highway”

This song is a nostalgic journey, as Ellis recalls a trip along Interstate 10 to Tucson, where he passes farmers and reminisces about a sense of community and purpose. He also waxes historic about the instantly-recognizable Picacho Peak. 

It begins: 

Arizona I-10 Highway, there’s a trucker going my way, play a tune in the afternoon with a guitar that I carry on my back. 
I can see the sign to Tucson, from the freeway that I ride on, telling me all the sights to see down in Tucson, that are long gone with each puff from a diesel stack. 
As I pass the irrigation roads (and) crops some Pima farmer grows, folks flipping by like the pages of a worn-out history book. 
And the story that it seems to tell the pride of his work in a job done well and the cooperation of a reservation full of neighbors and the labors of his people (that it took).  

Ellis has been writing and performing songs about Arizona, its people, heritage, culture, wildlife and beauty, since 1959. Learn more about the State Balladeer, by reading these blog posts: 

Arizona's official balladeer celebrates I-17 Mystery Tree

State balladeer croons nostalgic over 'I-10 Highway'

State balladeer sings of drive from Flagstaff

Learn more about Ellis, his performance schedule, history and songs at DolanEllis.com. You can also learn about the Arizona Folklore Preserve in Ramsey Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains, which Ellis founded to preserve songs celebrating Arizona’s western heritage and culture, at ArizonaFolklore.com


Dust detection system ready for action this monsoon season

Dust detection system ready for action this monsoon season


Dust detection system ready for action this monsoon season

Dust detection system ready for action this monsoon season

By Laurie Merrill / ADOT Communications
June 11, 2021

ADOT’s high-tech dust detection system is poised and ready for action when the first monsoons of 2021 roll into the Valley.

The first-of-its kind system was fine-tuned and activated in time for the official June 15 start of the 2020 monsoon season.

Only, except for a few cameo appearances, the star of that show failed to appear. By meteorological standards, monsoon season 2020 was pretty much a dud.

“It was a ‘nonsoon’,” said Larry Hopper, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “It was the hottest and driest monsoon on record.”

Will monsoon season 2021 be any wetter? Maybe, maybe not, according to recent climate reports. Chances are equal for a similar, slightly wetter or slighty drier season than last year.

But hold onto your hats and remember your safe driving rules. Forecasts call for a "greater potential" for dust storms, blowing dust and wildfires in 2021, especially in the earlier part of the monsoon season.

ADOT expects the dust detection system installed along 10 miles of Interstate 10 to be in high gear this season.

May 2020 to April 2021 saw the driest 12 months since 1895. Last year's no-show brought little to saturate the ground. This leaves an above normal amount of dry earth that, if the wind blows sufficiently, become dust storms.

Kevin Duby, ADOT’s statewide road weather manager, said the system was deployed successfully during a few storms last year, but he is eager to put it to the test during what is anticipated to be a dustier season.

“It worked well,” Duby said. “The variable speed limits signs worked as intended and did reduce speeds.”  

The speed limits are only one part of the system, which stretches between Eloy and Picacho Peak, from mileposts 209 to 219. Severe storms can create hazardous driving conditions across the Valley, but this stretch gets more than its share.

The most dangerous aspect of monsoon storms is the lack of visibility that thick walls of dust create. It can be extremely difficult to see during a big dust storm, which is one reason ADOT has longed urged motorists to “Pull Aside, Stay Alive” during a monsoon storm.

X-band Radar 3 Long Range Dust Detection Sensor_051220_40
On this 10-mile stretch, 13 visibility sensors use light beams to determine dust particle density, and once they hit certain levels, the system activates overhead message boards and variable speed limit signs.

Programmable speed limit signs every 1,000 feet can change the legal speed limit from 75 mph to 35 mph.

A weather tower – that's the big ball pictured on the right – can detect storms more than 40 miles away and send the data to ADOT and the National Weather Service.

Duby said ADOT is looking forward to receiving information from the system to help make roadways safer.

“We feel confident the system is working as intended and hopeful we’ll see more data coming in and see how the motoring public responds to conditions.”

Read how the system tracked the "nonsoon" season and some of the top awards it earned in the "Dust detection and warning system tracks its first season" article.