With the help of U.S. Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Arizona senior Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Arizona’s I-17 will receive $90 million in resources from the Department of Transportation for a lane expansion project. Sinema wrote the DOT in February asking them to award funding for the lane expansion project.
“Today’s announcement will make our roads safer and fuel Arizona jobs and business opportunities. I will continue supporting increased infrastructure investment in our state,” said Sinema.
The Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant, awarded to the Arizona Department of Transportation by the Federal Highway Administration, will be used as part of an estimated $320 million project to add lanes along 23 miles of I-17 between Anthem Way and Sunset Point. Construction is scheduled to begin by 2021 and be completed in 2023.
Currently, the portion of I-17 between Anthem and Sunset Point, designated the “Arizona Veteran’s Highway,” is one of the most dangerous stretches of interstate in America. From 2011 to 2015, there were 123 fatalities between Phoenix and Flagstaff alone.
“This is exciting news for Arizona and our growing economy,” said Gov. Doug Ducey. “Arizona’s fiscally conservative, balanced budget made significant investments in our state’s infrastructure. This additional funding will expand Interstate 17 in a critical commerce corridor, helping reduce congestion, improve traffic flow and increase public safety. My thanks to the Arizona Department of Transportation and all of our regional and federal partners for their hard work and advocacy on behalf of Arizona.”
“This is great news for the entire state and in particular for those living in and traveling to northern Arizona,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “I thank all of ADOT’s partners at the local, regional and federal level, including members of our congressional delegation and the Maricopa Association of Governments, for helping us move this much-needed project forward.”
The improvements to I-17 north of Phoenix are one of the state’s transportation priorities because that area regularly experiences heavy congestion due to crashes, disabled vehicles and increased weekend traffic.
The state budget recently passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Doug Ducey included an investment of $130 million in state funds to allow full construction of third lanes along the highway between Anthem Way and Black Canyon City as part of the larger I-17 improvement project.
Meanwhile, flex lanes along 8 miles of I-17 north of Black Canyon City will operate as a separate two-lane facility to carry one direction of traffic at any one time depending on need, with movable gates at end to control access. For example, the flex lanes will carry heavier northbound I-17 traffic on a Friday and southbound traffic on a Sunday. They also could provide extra lanes in one direction if an incident closes the regular I-17 lanes in the area between Black Canyon City and Sunset Point.
“Stretching from Phoenix to Flagstaff, I-17 moves tens of thousands of people each day,” said McSally. “With our growing economy and expanding population it is essential that Arizona continues to serve our communities on safe and well-maintained roads. This is exciting news for Arizona as this grant will move us closer to that goal.”
In February, Sinema wrote the Department of Transportation asking them to award the Arizona Department of Transportation grant money for their lane expansion project. The funding awarded today, following Sinema’s letter, will allow for the construction of an additional lane in each direction, making the interstate safer and more efficient for Arizonans.
On February 28, McSally sent a letter to the Department of Transportation in support of ADOT’s application noting that this project is “necessary and important for our state.”