After roughly 1½ years of work, a functional — if not quite finished — Ajo Way-Interstate 19 interchange is all but ready.
On Monday, the new northbound on-ramp is scheduled to open and, barring the unforeseen, the southbound off-ramp is scheduled to open sometime between Friday, Oct. 13, and Monday, Oct. 16, well before the morning rush, Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman Tom Herrmann told the Road Runner.
The four ramps will meet on the new, wider bridge at something called a single-point urban exchange, or SPUI. If you don’t know what that means, just like the Road Runner before looking it up, imagine the Valencia Road-I-10 interchange. A single set of traffic lights will manage traffic, instead of lights at several locations.
The first phase of the $54.2 million interchange project, which also includes noise walls, a widened southbound exit at the Irvington Road interchange, several road reconstructions and other improvements, is expected to be completed this coming spring.
The second phase, which will cost an estimated $29 million, will widen southbound I-19, add an auxiliary lane on northbound I-19 from Irvington to Ajo, replace the Ajo bridge over the Santa Cruz River, among other changes. Herrmann said there’s no timeline for construction and no bids have gone out. ADOT’s five-year transportation facilities plan includes $10 million for the project in the current fiscal year and $20 million for fiscal year 2019.
A few miles to the north at another major interchange project, crews are eight months into the 25-month, $148 million Ina Road project and on schedule, Herrmann said.
Work on the bridge that will eventually carry Ina over Interstate 10 and railroad tracks is underway, and work on the new, wider Ina bridge over the Santa Cruz is nearing completion. In about three months, interstate traffic will be shifted to what will be the new eastbound lanes.
Interstate 10 dust
Work to get dust under control along a uniquely dangerous stretch of I-10 is now complete. On Sept. 26, contractor EarthCare Consultants finished applying a soil stabilizer to roughly 55 acres of denuded land that has been tied to a number of serious and sometimes deadly crashes along a half-mile stretch just northwest of Picacho Peak. The contract was for a little over $100,000, well under an estimate previously provided by Len Drago, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality deputy air-quality director.
Drago said the owner of most the treated land, Houston real estate broker Louis Tsakiris, was cooperative. Drago said he was pleased that the work was done in time for heavy fall winds, which in the past have kicked up small but blinding dust storms in the area.
Sentinel Peak reopening
Sentinel Peak Road will reopen to all users starting Monday at 8 a.m. The roadway had been closed to motorists for several weeks to accommodate repairs to damage caused by heavy August rains. It had also been closed to bikers and walkers on the weekends. Drainage improvements, new retaining walls, erosion repair and parking area resurfacing were all a part of the “A” Mountain project.
DOWN THE ROAD
Through travel on Stone Avenue at its intersection with Grant will not be allowed from Friday at 7 p.m. through Monday morning at 4 a.m.
Southbound Stone will be closed at Glenn Street, and detours will take drivers east or west of there. Northbound drivers will have to turn either west or east at Grant, and will not be able to proceed through the intersection. The designated detour will be east or west at Drachman Street.
The closures will accommodate Markham Contracting’s efforts to install a new drain system, water lines and manholes.
There will also be lane restrictions on I-10 at its Craycroft Road crossing, starting Tuesday at 8 p.m., and lasting through 5 a.m. That will be repeated through Friday.