I-10, Prince construction nearly complete - Tucson News Now

I-10, Prince construction nearly complete; more construction waiting in the wings

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The huge, $76.4  million construction project at Interstate 10 and Prince Road is on schedule to be finished in the spring.

KOLD News 13 got exclusive access to the site Thursday so we could bring you an update.

The improvements along Interstate 10 through Tucson continue to take shape.

Crews are currently widening I-10 to four lanes in each direction from Prince to Ruthrauff.

In the other part of the project, workers are building a bridge that will take Prince Road traffic over the interstate and over the railroad tracks that run next to the highway.

The project started in September of 2011.

Prince has been blocked off at the railroad tracks and I-10 since then.

There have been speed and other restrictions on the highway.

Once its done, the Prince Road bridge is expected to make travel safer and relieve congestion on Prince and on the interstate at the Prince Road exit.

"I don't know if anybody recalls, but we used to get traffic backed up all the way onto the mainline I-10 for vehicles that were stuck at the railroad crossing. And that was a significant safety hazard and a significant safety problem. So this addresses all that. And it allows Prince Road to have quite a bit more access, to go over. It's going to allow for opportunities for development on the west side of I-10. It's just opening up a lot of different opportunities," says Arizona Department of Transportation Tucson District Engineer Rod Lane.

He says the project is coming in on budget and on schedule.

Crews are putting the finishing touches on the bridge.

Lane says the huge bridge structures, the concrete, the heavy work is finished.

You might see workers doing the smaller projects, including landscaping.

The final paving and striping on the interstate will happen this spring.

Regular drivers on I-10 might have noticed they are on a different side of the interstate than they were last week

"We've switched traffic over the last week or so to the outside so that we can finish work on the middle, on the new medians on the inside. We'll be moving it again around to do some final stuff. We'll open the project and then we're going to have to do paving as the final step as we come through the main line in the spring. We have to wait to do that because it has temperature requirements. The air has to be a certain temperature," Lane says.

However, we shouldn't get too comfortable.

The next phase of I-10 construction will start next year, this time at Ina Road.

"Where the plan is to bring Ina Road up over the railroad tracks, over I-10. So you'll be seeing that over the next several years. It's going to take another year or so to get the plans done and ready to go and then we'll be out there working on it. Then we've also--kind of at the same time--we've got another one going to the south. Ajo is going to be coming up in several years down the road," Lane says.

Then, as Ina Road is finishing up in 2018, crews will begin work widening I-10 at Ruthrauff Road and building a bridge over the railroad tracks and the interstate there.

The I-10 widening near downtown Tucson was finished a few years ago.

That cost $210 million.

There is no estimate yet on how much the rest of the widening and bridge projects will cost.

Federal money is paying for almost all of the construction.

Eventually I-10 will be four lanes in each direction all the way from Ajo Way to Ina Road.

That's about 12 miles.

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