More freeway construction is coming to the West Valley.
A $110 million Interstate 10 widening project was authorized at the Oct. 20 Buckeye City Council meeting. Council unanimously voted to approve the Arizona Department of Transportation’s widening and upgrade of interchanges at Watson Road and Miller Road.
According to ADOT, “Construction of the project is expected to begin in early 2021 and take approximately two years to complete.”
According to ADOT, “the improvements include adding a third general purpose lane in each direction on I-10 and reconstructing the interchanges at Miller Road and Watson Road. These improvements will increase freeway capacity, improve traffic flow and safety at the interchanges and accommodate future growth in the city of Buckeye.”
ADOT held public meetings on the freeway project two years ago.
The agreement paves the way for a “general-purpose lane” in each direction between State Route 85 and Verrado Way, said City Engineer Scott Zipprich.
He called the agreement “a pretty big deal for the city.”
According to the agreement, the traffic signals at Miller Road will be restructured as a trombone-style interchange with new traffic signals being installed.
The city’s portion of the project is expected to be around $6 million, according to Deputy City Engineer Paul Lopez.
Lopez said the agreement includes adding additional street lights at Willow Road and continuous water and sewer lines that extend beneath the Miller Road underpass, aimed at accommodating growth in the area.
Lopez said the design also includes fiber-optic conduits in anticipation of Buckeye’s expected growth.
According to Lopez, ADOT will construct a second soundwall to reduce traffic noise.
“We also have additional soundwalls that are going to be constructed out in front of the Sundance area,” Lopez said.
Lopez said a city economic development team and ADOT developed a plan that minimizes the “short term” inconvenience during the construction phase.
“We worked very hard with ADOT to make sure that we minimize the impact on businesses here,” Lopez said.
He said lane closures are to be limited to nighttime hours from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. on the weekdays and 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on the weekends.
Lopez said ADOT must give businesses no less than a 21-calendar-day notice prior to any construction.
Councilman Tony Youngker said he hoped this would limit traffic disruptions.
“They were talking about having the exits closed at the same time for an extended period of time,” Youngker said. “I’m glad you guys worked on that and got that taken care of and out of the way.”
Youngker asked Lopez if he could provide specific start and end dates.
“What we heard from ADOT and this is still up in the air. But one of the reasons we’re here tonight in front of you was we tried to expedite this as much as possible so that we could get it going in construction,” Lopez said. “They (ADOT) wanted to get it (completed) by the end of the calendar year, with an anticipated start date by the end of the first quarter of next calendar year.”
Younger said Buckeye’s expansion of new residents, visitors and businesses in coming years will be tested more than ever.
“I’m a little bit anxious and excited about this getting done because the growing pains coming along with it are not going to be a fun year for anybody who’s traveled I-10 on a daily basis,” Youngker said.
For more information on the project, visit azdot.gov/projects/central-district-projects/i-10-sr85-verrado-way-improvements.