BLACK CANYON CITY, Ariz. — State transportation officials are advising drivers on Interstate 17 to slow down and avoid being distracted by preparations for a long-awaited project that will add more lanes to a mountainous stretch of the freeway north of Phoenix that gets highly congested on weekends and holidays.
The state Department of Transportation said Thursday there will be nighttime lane closures, daytime shoulder closures and speed-limit reductions as the agency and the project team do preparatory work such as surveys and inspections.
Some of that pre-construction work will involve using helicopters to haul workers and equipment to areas that are difficult to reach for drilling and boring.
Actual construction is to start later this year.
The project will widen 15 miles (24 kilometers) of I-17 to add more lanes between Anthem Way and Black Canyon City and construct 8 miles (13 kilometers) of new reversible-direction lanes between Black Canyon City and the Sunset Point rest area.
“In the meantime, drivers need to be mindful of the pre-construction work and restrictions as crews prepare for major construction,” ADOT said in a statement. “Since equipment and workers will be present along the side of the highway, ADOT urges motorists to drive safely in the established work zone, which means avoiding all distractions, obeying the posted speed limit and moving over when necessary.”
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