ADOT Considers Reversible Lane on Stretch of I-17

Sunset Point, which features a stunning view of the Bradshaw Mountains, is on the northern end of a stretch of Interstate 17 known for congestion and crashes. | Colleen Hoyt

The Arizona Department of Transportation is considering ways to reduce backups from crashes and congestion along a stretch of Interstate 17 north of Phoenix.

The 8-mile stretch of the interstate between Black Canyon City and Sunset Point is the focus of the ADOT initiative. A series of recent crashes there, some of which backed up traffic for hours, have put the focus on the area. Due to the remoteness of that part of I-17, there's no easy detour around a crash.

One option being explored, according to a news release, is adding a reversible lane to the stretch of highway. Such a lane would feature barriers at either end, allowing either northbound or southbound vehicles to use the lane during periods of heavy traffic.

ADOT says a preliminary estimate put the cost of such a system at $125 million, and while there currently is no funding available for the project, the department is looking at ways to reduce the cost, such as a public-private partnership. Ultimately, the department hopes to be able to widen more of I-17 than just this 8-mile stretch.

ADOT Director John Halikowski said in the release that while the department explores solutions, drivers can do their part by exercising patience and good judgment to improve safety on the highway. We'll add that if you're headed north and traffic is bad, stopping at Rock Springs Café for lunch and a slice of pie is never a bad choice.


This discussion is 20 years overdue. "Due to a series of recent crashes"??? Are you kidding me? You meant to say, "crashes 26 weekends a year", right? For anyone who makes the trip between Phoenix and Flagstaff regularly on weekends, the traffic is horrifying. 80% of people drive in the left lane to avoid trucks or RV's in the right lane. Then, a few jump in the right lane, fly by the brake lights in the left lane, only to weasel in, unsafely, miles (or sometimes just dozens of yards) ahead. It is extremely unsafe, and the solution should not only be discussed, but funded, and ground should be broken TODAY. The residents of Arizona deserve a solution NOW!

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