By TARA ALATORRE
ANTHEM – The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is moving forward with a project that will add lanes on the Interstate 17 between Anthem and Sunset Point, and is asking drivers for help in improving safety by avoiding aggressive or distracted driving.
The project is aimed at improving traffic backups that usually happen during the weekends when many vehicles are traveling on the I-17 to the high country, according to ADOT.
“New lanes will play a role in improved safety, but driver behavior remains the key,” ADOT Director John Halikowski stated in a press release. “The reality is that a reduction in speeding, sudden lane changes and impaired driving would reduce crashes, closures and frustrating traffic backups along this corridor.”
The ADOT study for the flex lanes is scheduled to be completed by summer 2019. Construction of the third southbound lane on the I-17 between Anthem and Black Canyon City is planned for 2020, and is expected to take two years to complete.
“These new lanes will provide flexibility and additional traffic capacity at times when I-17 traffic is heaviest in one direction, including northbound on a Friday or southbound on a Sunday,” according to the ADOT press release.
The flex lanes will have movable barriers, operating next to existing southbound I-17 lanes between Black Canyon City and Sunset Point, and can open to keep traffic moving during a crash or other incident.
Approximately $150 million has been committed for the design and construction of the additional lanes by ADOT and the Maricopa Association of Governments, which is the regional planning agency for the Phoenix metropolitan area.
More than 40 percent of crashes on the I-17 in the local area happen due to speeding, which often cause highway closures and massive backups on the highway and New River Road, according to an ADOT analysis in cooperation with the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
According to ADOT, “Driver behavior is the leading factor in crashes along I-17 in the Black Canyon City region.”
If you would like to see a simulation video of how the flex lanes will work once completed visit our website at theFoothillsFocus.com.
For more information or questions visit azdot.gov or email firstname.lastname@example.org.