PHOENIX - The state has awarded an $11.9 million contract for a project to ease congestion on a heavily traveled stretch of Interstate 17, the main travel route between Phoenix and northern Arizona.
The Department of Transportation says construction of a 2-mile climbing lane on southbound I-17 leading to the top of Copper Canyon south of Camp Verde will begin in early 2013 and be completed by year's end.
The federally funded project also includes adding an auxiliary lane for large trucks to accelerate to traffic speeds between two interchanges immediately before the approach to Copper Canyon.
The department says it will eventually add a climbing lane on the entire 6.5-mile climb up Copper Canyon.
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