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What's next for I-10 in the Tucson area?

ADOT's plan after Ruthrauff and Houghton's interchanges are complete
Ina road opens over I-10
Posted at 9:52 AM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 13:33:15-04

TUCSON, Ariz (KGUN) — Many viewer emails sent to me form the basis for this column. Most of them have interesting questions, observations and suggestions.

Viewer Phil emailed today, asking what the next interchange project for ADOT would be, once the I-10 interchanges at Ruthrauff and Houghton are complete.

I don't have an answer, in terms of the next interchange project. Many have been proposed: New Alvernon and Country Club interchanges are among them. No funding exists (yet) for either of them.

Given that most of the interchanges are now separated from train traffic, I've been asked twice within the last few days if the old connection at I-10 at Cortaro Farms Road would be next in line for a beefed-up interchange. But that work is not included in ADOT's Five-Year Plan.

So, what is ADOT's next big Southern Arizona freeway project?

Beginning in 2022, a stretch of I-10 between Ruthrauff and Ina will be widened, adding an extra lane of travel to each direction of the freeway. Other improvements are also planned in the same area, but no additional details are available, yet.

By the way, the Ruthrauff interchange project is still on track for a September completion. Houghton's Diverging Diamond Interchange is scheduled to be done by the end of this year.

What's the next I-10 project after Ruthrauff and Houghton?
What's the next I-10 project after Ruthrauff and Houghton?
What's the next I-10 project after Ruthrauff and Houghton?
What's the next I-10 project after Ruthrauff and Houghton?

We've all seen them; they're popping up all over the place. Most are being installed near heavily-traveled roads, but several are also in local neighborhoods, as well. Viewer Tracie emailed these shots yesterday, wondering what they are.

They're new cellular poles, designed to handle 5G cellular technology on next-generation cell phones. 5G speed is advertised to surpass the wi fi speed in your home, but the technology relies on higher frequency radio waves currently used for normal cellular service. Higher frequency waves travel shorter distances before they degrade. That's why more receiving sites are needed to provide this new service.

There are at least two Tucson-based technology companies that are looking to solve this multiple-site challenge issue by creating an airborne antenna system, using receiving devices that would be attached to a near-orbit balloon or other airborne devices. I'm interested in it, am following it and will let you know what, if anything, develops.

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