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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Broadway Road Expansion Beginning Soon

BroadwayEast and west travel through the South Mountain and Laveen Villages will soon get easier.


After eight years of planning, construction on Avenida Rio Salado, a $73 million project designed to increase vehicle capacity on Broadway Road, will begin in November.


Plans call for widening the arterial thoroughfare – which is expected to receive double its current traffic by 2030 – from 51st Avenue to 7th Street, resulting in improved accessibility and eased traffic congestion between the southwest Valley and downtown Phoenix.


Improvements include new sidewalks, bike lanes, street lighting and landscaping throughout the five-mile project. Utilities will also get relocated to accommodate the new roadway.


According to Paul Driver, engineering supervisor for the City of Phoenix’s design and construction management division, at least one lane in each direction will remain open throughout the 30-month construction period.


“Access will be maintained to all businesses most of the time and whenever they request it,” he added. “We expect a substantial amount of night work in commercial areas to maintain greater access during the day. This being said, there will be impacts to traffic and area businesses. We plan on maintaining a high level of outreach to mitigate this as much as we can.”


The first section to see construction extends from 17th Avenue to 7th Street. Planned work includes intersection improvements at 15th Avenue, 7th Avenue, Central Avenue and 7th Street. New bus bays will be installed on the southeast and northeast corners and the intersection corners will get widened.


Work at each intersection is expected to take about 90 days.


Construction on the second (27th to 17th avenues) and third (35th to 27th avenues) segments is scheduled to start in July 2014. Segment 4 (43rd to 35th avenues) will begin a little earlier, in February 2014.


Broadway Road within these three segments will be widened from a two- and three-lane rural road to a six-lane roadway. In addition to the six traffic lanes, the roadway will have 6-foot bicycle lanes in each direction and 5-foot-wide sidewalks.


The final segment – also scheduled to start in February 2014 – between 51st and 43rd avenues involves constructing a new roadway through an existing sand and gravel operation. This roadway will have six lanes separated by a landscaped median. Bike lanes and sidewalks will also get added.


Driver said original Avenida Rio Salado plans extended to 67th Avenue and called for a diagonal bridge across the riverbed. The cost would have exceeded $400 million.


“Since neither the city nor the Federal Highway Administration were prepared for this size project, we decided on a Phase I project from 7th Street to 51st Avenue,” he said. “Deferring the diagonal bridge across the Salt River saved $300 million.”


Selecting an alignment primarily centered on the existing Broadway Road also cut costs.


Since Avenida Rio Salado was first proposed, four public meetings have been held to encourage residents’ involvement and minimize community impact. The next public meeting is from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at M.C. Cash Elementary School Library, 3851 W. Roeser Road.


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