State focuses on commerce corridors, highway preservation in road proposal

The Arizona Department of Transportation is focusing on a five-year plan of highway preservation and improving the state’s business corridor. (Submitted photo)

Major corridors for passenger and freight traffic would be expanded and improved during the next five years as part of a proposed annual update to the Arizona Department of Transportation’s lineup of projects that will be available for public comment beginning Friday, March 16.

The 2019-2023 tentative five-tear transportation facilities construction program also reaches the department’s goal of allocating at least $260 million per year for preservation of bridges and highways throughout the state highway system, according to an ADOT release.

In addition, ADOT has proposed increasing the amount of preservation funding to $320 million per year during the next six to 10 years as part of the recently adopted Long-Range Transportation Plan, a blueprint for investment priorities over the next 25 years.

“ADOT is committed to moving people and freight safely and efficiently every day on the key commerce corridors that connect Arizona to major markets and help us better compete for quality jobs, economic growth and prosperity,” ADOT Director John Halikowski stated in a release.

“But just as important is the need to preserve and maintain our $21.5 billion system to keep our highways and bridges in good repair and functioning as they should.”

Preservation projects include repaving highways, filling potholes, extending the life cycle of existing pavement and repairing or reconstructing bridges.

Key expansion projects round out the system by increasing mobility and connectivity while reducing traffic congestion, according to the release.

Major projects ADOT is proposing along highly traveled corridors over the next five years include:

  • Two major widening projects along US 93 in fiscal years 2020 and 2023 that will bring ADOT closer to its goal of completing a four-lane divided highway from Wickenburg to Interstate 40, laying the groundwork for the future Interstate 11.
  • Widening Interstate 17 in areas between Anthem and Sunset Point in fiscal years 2021 and 2022, with specific areas and projects still under study.
  • Widening the last section of State Route 260 near Star Valley beginning in fiscal year 2023 (the Lion Springs section), reaching ADOT’s goal of completing a four-lane divided highway along the entire length of that corridor. The State Transportation Board will make its final decision in June about what will be in the updated five-year program.

The complete report, posted with a how-to-read-it guide, will be available on Friday, March 16, at azdot.gov for review and comment. ADOT officials stated they welcome feedback via an online form at surveymonkey.com/r/G6DNQVG by email at fiveyearconstructionprogram@azdot.gov and by phone at 855-712-8530.

Upcoming meetings, which all begin 9 a.m., will be:

  • March 16: Public hearing and state transportation board meeting at the Sahuarita Town Council Chambers, 375 W. Sahuarita Center Way.
  • April 20: Public hearing and state transportation board meeting at the  Flagstaff City Council Chambers, 211 W. Aspen Ave.
  • May 18: Public hearing and state transportation board meeting in the ADOT administration building auditorium, 206 S. 17th Ave., Phoenix.
  • June 5: State transportation board study session at ADOT’s Human Resources Development Center, 1130 N. 22nd Ave., Phoenix.
  • June 15: State transportation board meeting at the Globe City Council Chambers, 150 N. Pine St.

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