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Q&AZ: What happened with the empty space in the middle of Interstate 10's Deck Park Tunnel?

Q&AZ is supported in part by Abrazo Health

Through KJZZ's Q&AZ reporting project, a listener asked: Whatever happened with the empty space in the middle of Interstate 10's Deck Park Tunnel?

When the Deck Park Tunnel under the I-10 opened in 1990, it was the last piece to connect the interstate from coast to coast.

The tunnel — which isn’t actually a tunnel but rather 19 bridges side by side — sits underneath Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix. If you're driving on the I-10, you can see a single empty lane in between the east and westbound lanes that is closed off by a fence. That area was originally intended to be an express bus lane and bus station, but now it’s not used and is closed to the public. The Arizona Department of Transportation uses the mostly untouched space for storage.

According to  Phoenix New Times reporting in 2011, despite spending over $9 million to begin construction, “the city was never able to secure the $20 million-plus in federal funds it would have taken to complete the project”," which was called the Papago Intermodal Transfer Station.

ADOT also has control rooms on the north and south sides of the freeway where they run lights and four huge ventilation fans in the tunnel. The tunnel was also the original location of the department’s Traffic Operations Center, now located near Buckeye Road and Interstate 17.

The city of Phoenix told KJZZ News recently that it has no new plans for the space.

→  Phoenix neighborhoods cut in half by I-10 are still recovering

Athena Ankrah is an assistant producer for KJZZ's The Show.Ankrah graduated from Arizona State University in 2023 with a bachelor’s in journalism and a second degree in Chicano media and expressive culture.