Highway being widened north of Buckeye prison

Traffic restrictions are expected for the next two months as work continues to improve a stretch of Arizona 85 near the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis, officials said.

At issue is a project to complete a new four-lane divided highway extending two miles north of the traffic interchange at the Buckeye prison.

“Heavy construction equipment will be required to cross the existing highway,” said Lucy Shipp, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Traffic control devices, flagging stations and no-passing zones will be set up, Shipp said. In addition, Arizona Department of Public Safety officers will be on hand.

“Drivers should approach the heavy equipment crossings with extreme caution, as traffic may be at a complete stop,” Shipp said Wednesday.

The project is on schedule and is likely to be completed late this year. It is part of ongoing improvements efforts along Arizona 85, she said.

For motorists, the busy highway offers a convenient 34-mile travel link between Interstates 10 and 8, providing a shortcut for trips to Yuma, San Diego or Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, also known as Rocky Point.

It’s also one of the state most dangerous traffic routes, as evidenced by a number of deadly crashes over the years, including some near the prison.

In 2001, ADOT announced a 10-year plan to improve safety by converting the entire 34-mile stretch to a four-lane divided highway from a mostly two-lane roadway.

Shipp said more widening jobs are in the works and full completion of the Arizona 85 improvement project is not expected for a few more years.

Posted by http://www.azcentral.com

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