Drivers frustrated with downtown construction, Valley Metro making progress

Posted at 7:06 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 22:06:09-04

PHOENIX — From Suns playoff games to the Diamondbacks, many drivers are frustrated with all of the construction going on downtown.

"It's horrific, honestly," said downtown resident, Marshall Cross. "I'm headed to the Diamondbacks game right now, and as you can see around us, there's construction everywhere," he said.

With orange cones and barriers lining nearly every street, Cross says nearly impossible focus on where you're going while driving downtown.

"It's very confusing because sometimes I'll be driving down one side of the street and I'll see a lane that's supposed to be used for the other side of the street," he said.

A particular problem spot is an angled intersection at 5th Street and Jefferson across from Chase Field. In the construction zone here drivers often pass the marked stopping point and end up stopping directly on the light rail tracks by mistake. It makes for a dangerous situation when the train is coming through.

Madeline Phipps, a public information specialist for Valley Metro, says the good news is that particular intersection wont be a problem much longer.

"The track is going to switch on Friday morning, so that intersection wont be in use anymore," she said.

Phipps says the construction downtown is all part of the South Central Extension Downtown Hub project, which will expand light rail service.

"Right behind me you can see our crews have been installing new special track work at the Central Avenue and Washington intersection," she said. "For this phase of the project they've had light rail traveling in both directions when this is normally just an eastbound track."

Until Phase1 is completed Friday, Phipps urges drivers to slow down and pay close attention to signs and officers in the area directing traffic. She says their light rail drivers will be looking out for cars as well.

"Our light rail operators will be using that horn. The thing to remember is the train is a lot bigger than your car, so just try and pay attention and stop well in advance of where the train is going to be coming through that light," Phipps said.

"Beginning Friday morning this track will be in use by the light rail again," she said.

Phipps says the next phase of the project will begin Friday as well. And while there will no longer be trains coming through, drivers will have to pay attention to closures and turn restrictions.

"Jefferson will be closed from 1st Ave to Central and there are turn restrictions traveling from Washington onto 1st Ave and Jefferson onto 1st Ave as well," she said.

"So that means if you're taking the light rail in downtown Phoenix, you're going to only use the westbound track. Whether you're traveling east or west you'll use the 3rd Street and Washington, Central and Washington, or Central and Van Buren stations," Phipps added.

"The special work happening right now goes through July 2nd, so until then light rail trains come every 20 minutes," she said.

Construction on the South Central Extension Downtown Hub will continue until 2024.

"We're really just thanking people for being patient," Phipps said.

"Walking is obviously the best thing to do right now," Cross said.

For information on current downtown construction see or download the ConstructVM South Central App.