I-10 expansion promises improved safety, headaches
TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - The next phase of the Interstate 10 expansion project
is underway in Tucson. Arizona Department of Transportation crews plan to expand a two-mile stretch from three lanes to four each way between Prince and Ruthrauff. Both ADOT and drivers call the massive two-year construction project a necessary evil.
“Today is the official day that we actually blocked something off and started digging into the ground,” ADOT engineer Todd Emery told 9 On Your Side. Crews began utility work Monday on the $76.5 million project.
“What's in it for everyone is improved safety along our interchange, increased capacity,” said James DeGrood of the Pima Association of Governments.
The project will offer something more than past expansions on other stretches. Crews will raise Prince Road so traffic goes over the railroad.
“That means a lot of earth moving. That means a lot of change in traffic,” DeGrood said. “But, at the end of the day, what we end up with is a project that includes an overpass over the railroad so we no longer have a railroad gate crossing where people have lost their lives.”
“Over or under--either way, it'd be pretty good as long as it gets it handled because the trains are too frequent, too long and they hold a lot of people up,” said driver Ed Cassidy.
Still, the project comes with other costs: months of road closures, detours and headaches for drivers. Prince Road west of the freeway, for example, is closed to traffic along with side streets until around January. Access to businesses there, however, is still possible using frontage roads.
“Sometimes, you have to have some growing pains to grow. We're growing,” Emery said.