ADOT enters negotiations with Kiewit-Fann Joint Venture for I-17 improvements project
PHOENIX — Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has entered into negotiations with a developer to design, construct, operate and maintain improvements to Interstate 17 between Anthem Way and Sunset Point, according to a recent news release.
This major stretch of highway that sees more than one million travelers every year.
For a while now, Arizona motorists, businesses and tourists have voiced their support for widening and improving I-17 north of the metro-Phoenix region to alleviate congestion and improve traffic flow.
The project will improve 23 miles of I-17, including 15 miles of roadway widening, two bridge replacements, one bridge deck replacement, 10 bridge widenings, and the installation of an eight-mile flex lane system — a new feature for Arizona’s highway system.
Flex lanes are proven technology to help reduce congestion on I-17 during peak travel times and allow for traffic movement during emergency situations. ADOT sought proposals from qualified developer teams interested in reconstructing the 23-mile section of this key commerce corridor.
Three finalists were selected earlier this year to advance through the selection process. All three finalists were encouraged to use innovation and develop alternative concepts to deliver the best possible design, construction, operation and maintenance strategy for the project.
After an extensive review process, Kiewit-Fann Joint Venture has been selected as the preferred developer. Key members of the development team include Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.; Fann Contracting Inc.; Kiewit Engineering Group Inc.; DBI Services LLC; CONSOR Engineers LLC dba Apex Design; T.Y. Lin International; Lee Engineering; Terracon Consultants Inc.; Wheat Design Group, Inc.; Y2K Engineering; and Pinyon Environmental Inc.
Notably, Fann Contracting Inc. is a company based in Prescott that has been around since 1960. Mike Fann, owner of Fann Contracting Inc., said they’d been closely monitoring ADOT work on the concept for this project for many years.
About two years ago, Fann approached Kiewit to propose a joint venture partnership for this project. Both sides agreed and were ultimately selected as the developer.
“It’s very exciting,” Fann said. “It’s a major project and by far the largest project we’ve ever been involved in and it’ll give us work for our employees for almost three years.”
The final cost will be determined after extensive contract negotiations.
“Arizonans are excited to see major improvements to Interstate 17 coming soon, and today’s news is an important step forward,” Gov. Doug Ducey said. “I-17 is a critical link to northern Arizona communities and a vital economic corridor. Expanding this section of I-17 will reduce congestion, improve traffic flow and strengthen public safety. Millions of Arizonans will benefit from I-17’s improved connectivity and reliability when this project is completed.”
ADOT has begun contract negotiations, and, pending a final contract, anticipates design and construction will begin in 2022. Construction is expected to take approximately three years. Construction crews are aiming to minimize impacts to the traveling public while work is underway. On busy days, this stretch of Interstate 17 can see more than 50,000 drivers a day.
“The vision of the Arizona Department of Transportation is moving Arizona to become the most reliable transportation system in the nation,” ADOT director John Halikowski said. “The I-17 project represents that vision and is a profound step toward enhancing the safety and efficiency of one of Arizona’s most iconic highways. ADOT is committed to innovative solutions to improve our highways, and this unique and creative project is a perfect example. It supports ADOT’s True North of getting everyone safely home.”
The I-17 flex lanes will operate as a separate, two-lane roadway carrying one direction of traffic at a time depending on the greatest need along the steep, winding eight miles between Black Canyon City and Sunset Point. For example, the flex lanes will be able to carry heavier northbound traffic on a Friday or heavy southbound traffic on a Sunday.
Similarly, ADOT will be able to open the flex lanes to accommodate traffic anytime if a crash or other incident causes long delays. The flex lanes will be next to, but physically separated from southbound I-17 using concrete barriers. Access to the flex-lane entrances will be controlled by gates.
In February, Ducey announced $40 million in funding for the I-17 project from higher-than-anticipated revenue amid Arizona’s strong economic recovery and federal COVID-relief funds. Additional project funding sources include $130 million of state highway funds appropriated by the state legislature in 2019; a $90 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant; $50 million programmed by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) for the Maricopa County portion of this project; and $52.3 million from federal aid with matching state highway funds.
For more information about this project, visit azdot.gov/i17-anthem-way-to-sunset-point.
Information provided by the Arizona Department of Transportation