ADOT: I-17 traffic fixes would be pricey, challenging

Posted at 5:18 AM, Oct 25, 2016

A massive 24-vehicle crash on the I-17 southbound caused a massive backup around Black Canyon City on Sunday.  

The crash and traffic delays bring up a problem that the Arizona Department of Transportation has studied and would like to fix, but can't afford.  

ADOT said the I-17 north of the Valley -- from Black Canyon City to Sunset Point -- is one of the biggest problem spots they have due to narrow roads and limited access.

“There's a wide range of options (to help traffic flow) and it starts at $125 million and goes up from there,” said Ryan Harding, an ADOT spokesperson.

ADOT has studied that stretch of road a lot.

“Studies, designs…each of those phases costs millions of dollars,” said Harding.

Every time there’s a crash in either direction, cars cram together and slow to a near-stop.  

But the traffic crush isn’t exclusive to crashes -- heavy holiday traffic when people head to the high country for Memorial Day and Labor Day almost always causes serious delays in both directions.  

Harding said widening the road with additional lanes is the most obvious solution, but poses plenty of problems.

“Adding lanes, of course, at that point the elevation rises pretty rapidly as you’re going uphill, so that’s challenging too,” he said.

Right now, Harding said ADOT will likely continue conducting studies and drawing up plans, but there’s nothing concrete in the works to move forward with a fix.