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ADOT considering reversible lanes to ease congestion on Interstate 17

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Transportation is considering adding reversible lanes to ease traffic on Interstate 17 north of the Phoenix area.

The Daily Courier reports the lanes could be added between Black Canyon City and the Sunset Point rest area. They would run in the median between the current north- and southbound lanes.

The lanes are being pushed by the Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization after being originally proposed by ADOT. Chris Bridges with the CYMPO said crashes routinely cause delays or closures of I-17, which can bring commerce in northern Arizona to a grinding halt.

I-17 is the primary road that connects Phoenix and Flagstaff.

The lanes could also be used at peak travel times — for example, it would allow northbound traffic on Friday afternoons and southbound traffic on Sundays.

Construction costs could serve as a blockade to the lanes being built. The Daily Courier said the reversible lanes could cost $125 million to build, though it is cheaper than adding more lanes to the existing roadway.

The state could explore some form of private-public partnership to build the lanes. However, some officials are concerned the idea could force Arizona to charge a toll for using the lanes, which likely would not go over well with the public.

If the project is successful, Bridges said he would like to see the lanes extended.

“In reality, we need it from Anthem all the way up to Cordes Junction,” he told the Courier.

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