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Ramp, lane design changes considered for I-10 between downtown Phoenix and Sky Harbor

Engineers are working on ways to improve the Valley’s busiest stretch of freeway, which includes key access to downtown Phoenix and Sky Harbor International Airport.

The focus is on Interstate 10 from the Deck Park Tunnel downtown, east to the ministack with the 51 and 202 freeways, and south to Sky Harbor to the split interchange with Interstate 17.

“Cars are trying to get to 51 and 202 and they have to sit in a long queue. Meanwhile, in the left hand lanes you have cars whizzing by,” Bradlee Williams with the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) said.

He told the Phoenix City Council that stretch of I-10 sees 5.4 crashes every day.

“We have a lot of sudden starts and stops and people have incentives to queue jump, go as fast as you can in the left lane and then suddenly swerve over into the right lane to get to your exit,” he said.

Williams said alternative ramp and lane designs to reduce speed differentials and backups should help. 

Phoenix Councilman Jim Waring wants to see visibility improved in the tunnel, “It may be fine in a perfect world but it’s not a perfect world if you’re coming from super bright to pretty dark, plus you’re trying to switch lanes, which everybody in there is, it seems like.”

In addition to analyzing data and considering design changes, MAG is gathering public input. Recommendations will be shared in spring or summer. Construction would be contingent on county voters approving Prop 429 to extend the half-cent sales tax earmarked for transportation projects beyond 2025.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.