State, local, federal partnership bringing improved safety, reduced congestion to critical highway north of Phoenix
Phoenix AZ (September 27, 2019) – Governor Doug Ducey today announced significant improvements to Interstate 17 north of Phoenix. The governor was joined by the directors of the Arizona Department of Transportation, Arizona Department of Public Safety and Arizona Office of Tourism along with business leaders, local elected officials and transportation stakeholders. The announced improvements are the result of joint efforts from a state, local and federal partnership, including $130 million proposed in Governor Ducey’s executive budget and included in the fiscal year 2020 budget signed earlier this year.
“On busy days, this stretch of Interstate 17 can see more than 50,000 drivers a day – and we want to make sure every one of them gets to their destination safely and without long delays,” said Governor Ducey. “My thanks to ADOT Director Halikowski, U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally, and our local and regional partners who have worked together to make this investment possible. With these improvements, Arizona is building better roads for a better future – with more to come.”
Investments topping $300 million will widen I-17 to three lanes along 15 miles between Anthem and Black Canyon City and build an 8-mile system of flex lanes on the grade between Black Canyon City and Sunset Point. The project is set to begin by spring 2021, with completion of all improvements expected by 2023.
“Investing in critical transportation infrastructure will drive Arizona’s 21st century economy and support future prosperity,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “Improving I-17 has been a priority for many years, and it is exciting to see that dream becoming a reality thanks to this collaboration led by Governor Ducey.”
The I-17 flex lanes will operate as a separate two-lane roadway carrying one direction of traffic at a time depending on the greatest need along the steep, winding 8 miles between Black Canyon City and Sunset Point. For example, the flex lanes will be able to carry heavier northbound traffic on a Friday or southbound traffic on a Sunday and also can keep traffic moving if there is a closure in that stretch.
In addition to the $130 million included in this year’s budget, the Maricopa Association of Governments, the regional planning agency, is investing $50 million in the widening. Thanks to support from Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally, along with others in Arizona’s congressional delegation, ADOT also recently won a highly competitive $90 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant that will go toward the project.