I-17 project north of Phoenix aims to reduce congestion in Arizona

Sept. 27, 2019

Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona recently announced a significant improvements project aimed at reducing congestion on I-17 north of Phoenix.

The investments in this project—which exceed $300 million—will widen the interstate to three lanes along 15 miles from Anthem and Black Canyon City and build an 8-mile system of flex lanes between Black Canyon City and Sunset Point. This stretch of I-17 sometimes sees over 50,000 drivers per day.

The announced improvements are the result of joint efforts from a state, local, and federal partnership, including $130 million proposed in Governor Ducey’s executive budget and included in the FY 2020 budget signed earlier this year.

“Investing in critical transportation infrastructure will drive Arizona’s 21st-century economy and support future prosperity,” Arizona DOT (ADOT) Director John Halikowski said in a statement. “Improving I-17 has been a priority for many years, and it is exciting to see that dream becoming a reality thanks to this collaboration led by Governor Ducey.”

The I-17 flex lanes will operate as a separate two-lane roadway carrying one direction of traffic at a time depending on the greatest need along the 8-mile system. For example, the flex lanes will be able to carry heavier northbound traffic on a Friday or southbound traffic on a Sunday and also can keep traffic moving if there is a closure along that stretch.

In addition to the $130 million included in this year’s budget, the Maricopa Association of Governments, the regional planning agency, is investing $50 million in the widening. ADOT also recently won a competitive $90 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant that will go toward the project.

The project is set to begin by spring 2021, with completion of all improvements expected by 2023.