The last 12 months have been largely dedicated to controlled rock blasting and earthwork, and this work will continue into 2024. The rock blasting is necessary to make way for the 15 miles of widening from Anthem Way to Black Canyon City, along with the eight miles of flex lanes, which will be constructed next to the existing southbound lanes from Black Canyon City to Sunset Point. The flex lanes, or reversible lanes, are a new feature for Arizona’s highway system and are designed to reduce congestion on I-17 during peak travel times.
Throughout the earthwork and excavation operations, a total of 1.7 million cubic yards of material is being removed from the mountainsides, then hauled to another area of the project to be reincorporated into the new roadway. A large portion of the blasted material is crushed to be used as aggregate base for the new roadway, and all the excavated material will go back into the project. The construction team is using everything that is removed.
Paving work in the southern section between Anthem Way and Table Mesa Road is one area where the crushed material is already being used as aggregate base. The paving began this summer and will continue into 2024. The paving process takes more than a year to complete because it requires four different layers, along with the appropriate weather conditions.