TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Arizona is set to receive a $54 million federal grant to help fund two key widening projects, and adding traffic-management technology along Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson.
The grants which total nearly $800 million will be combined with other funding from federal, state, local, and private sources to support $3.6 billion in infrastructure investment in 15 states and the District of Columbia.
In Arizona, the FASTLANE grant money will be used for:
- Realigning and widening four miles in the Picacho area to three lanes in each direction while reconstructing the interchange with State Route 87.
- Widening four miles between Interstate 8 and Earley Road to three lanes in each direction while upgrading ramps at Jimmie Kerr Boulevard near Casa Grande.
- Making technology enhancements to improve traffic management and safety, including remote sensors to provide early warning of approaching dust.
The $54 million will be part of a $157.5 million improvement project, partially funded by ADOT. According to ADOT, an estimated 120,00 vehicles travel from Tucson to Phoenix and about 30% of them are trucks.
Commercial driver Jean Sly made a stop near Tucson. While he is based in Michican, in the last seven years he's traveled through all 50 states. Sly was happy to hear about the widening project, as it can be dangerous when the highway goes from three lanes, to two, then back to three.
"The biggest problem is people don't know which way they're going have to go when the lanes disappear," Sly said. "They don't give you a whole lot of notice that this lane ends in 500 feet, or 1,000 feet. And when you're traveling at 75 miles per hour, 1,000 feet isn't very far."
Tom Herrmann with ADOT says the areas of I-10 that will be widened include milepost 196 to 200, and 209 to 213. Herrmann says the department has not decided yet where the sensors for the dust storms will be placed.
A 2013 study found that the two mile stretch near Pichacho Peak was the deadliest corridor in Arizona for dust storms. In ten years eight people died and more than 50 vehicles crashed in that area.
Herrmann says construction was slated to begin in fiscal year 2020, but it may be pushed up between 2018.
The FASTLANE grant program was established as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and is administered by the newly-launched Build America Bureau (The Bureau) at the Department of Transportation (USDOT).
FASTLANE recipients were selected through a thorough review process at the Department of Transportation to identify projects that will have significant regional and national impacts by reducing congestion, expanding capacity, using innovative technology, improving safety, or moving freight more efficiently.