ADOT observes the Deck Park Tunnel’s 25th birthday
On Aug. 10, 1990, the finishing touches were put on the “final mile” on Interstate 10 between Third Avenue and Third Street — including the Deck Park Tunnel — to complete the nation’s second coast-to-coast interstate.
At the time, Thomas Lane, head of the Federal Highway Administration, called the freeway opening a milestone in transportation history.
The freeway stretches 2,460 miles across eight states, from Santa Monica, California to Jacksonville, Florida.
However, the completion of I-10 wasn’t the only achievement that was marked that day, as that final mile also ushered in the beginning of metro Phoenix’s freeway system as it is known today.
According to the ADOT, when the Deck Park Tunnel opened, construction of the Loop 101 and state routes 51 and 143 had just started, while the Loop 202, Loop 303 and State Route 24 were but a twinkle in city planners’ eyes.
Phoenix’s population growth between 1970 and 2000 had much to do with the expansion of the local highway system, as the city went from the 20th largest city in the United States in 1970, to the country’s sixth-largest city by 2000.
The tunnel connected the east and west valleys, allowing for virtually seamless travel between the two areas.
Since it opened, an estimated two billion vehicles have passed through the tunnel.