BUCKEYE, Ariz. — Buckeye is a fast-growing city, and with that growth, infrastructure is needed to support it.
Crews started working on the I-10 widening project back in July.
ADOT Spokesperson Doug Nintzel says the project will eventually widen 8 miles of the I-10 between Verrado Way and State Route 85 from two lanes to three.
"This is all about enhancing the capacity along a very important stretch of 1-10," Nintzel said
Construction on the first phase is currently underway at Miller Road and State Route 85.
"So it's really important to slow down to the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit, creating safer conditions," Nintzel said.
The project, he says, is all about safety.
"This is really about safety improvements because when you add a third lane in each direction you’ve enhanced the capacity and you’re giving traffic more room to move. Therefore it’s a safer condition in terms of people passing each other, the flow of traffic makes for a safer freeway," Nintzel said.
The project will also create "diverging diamond" lanes at Miller and Watson Roads, similar to ones already in place at I-17 and Happy Valley Road. This will allow drivers to safely turn left.
"There’s an improved flow of traffic underneath the freeway on the cross street, where traffic is able to cross to the left side of the freeway. That allows for an unencumbered entry onto the freeway using the on-ramp," he said. "Just a better situation in terms of entering and exiting the freeway."
Annie DeChance, the marketing and communications manager for the city of Buckeye, said, "the improvements happening on the I-10 obviously are going to have a tremendous benefit to our residents."
The I-10 widening project is critical to support both the business and residential populations boom.
Buckeye's population now, DeChance said, is at 105,000 and counting.
"[The Maricopa Association of Governments] estimates that by 2030, we’re going to be at about 186,000, and by 2040 we’re going to be at about 300,000 to 305,000," DeChance said.
"I know, it’s crazy, and what’s interesting is Buckeye is about 640 square miles, so we’re actually larger in land size than the City of Phoenix, but currently we’re less than 10% built out."
"Definitely room to grow and that’s what’s important. That’s why the I-10 project is very timely to help with that type of infrastructure," DeChance said.
ADOT says there are around 67,000 drivers per day that pass through that section of Buckeye, and that traffic is expected to balloon to 100,000 drivers per day in the next few years.
"That's why we're trying to stay ahead of things by widening the freeway now because it's not just about the improvements for today's traffic, it's about decades from now," Nintzel said.
Nintzel says the total project cost is $82 million dollars, paid for through a combination of Proposition 400, as well as federal funds.
The completion date for the project is set for the summer of 2023.
Officials are also offering assistance to businesses along the construction route.