BLACK CANYON CITY, Ariz. (KSAZ) - The Arizona Department of Transportation is looking to improve a dangerous stretch of I-17 north of Phoenix, and they are looking for the public's input.
The public meeting is scheduled to take place at 6:00 p.m. at Cañon Elementary School, which is located at 34630 S. School Loop Road in Black Canyon City.
The segment in question is a 23-mile stretch between Anthem and Cordes Junction, a stretch that can be very difficult for drivers, especially during the holidays or if there is an accident.
During the meeting, ADOT will be showing off some of their ideas, as well as gathering opinions from driver.
In the past, FOX 10 Phoenix has covered many crashes and backups along this part of the freeway. Anytime there's an issue on the I-17 north of the Valley, one can anticipate a crowd at the historic Rock Springs Cafe, as motorists wait out the traffic.
"A lot of the times, they'll just come into the parking lot or come into the cafe or get some take out food, and come back out here to the parking lot and enjoy a little picnic while they wait for the highway to open again," said Augie Perry, who has owned the restaurant since 2008. "It seems like more and more, the delays are becoming more frequent and lengthier."
This particular stretch of the I-17 has been a rough spot for ADOT for years.
"I-17 has been that two lanes in each direction for decades," said ADOT spokesperson Doug Nintzel. "I think it's held up pretty well, considering the growth here in Arizona. However, we know we want to make the improvements."
Nintzel says funding is now in place, and they're ready to take the next step to hopefully alleviate congestion and delays.
"This is a change for us to talk about," said Nintzel. "The different options that are on the drawing boards."
Some ideas ADOT will be unveiling to motorists are the use of flex lanes that can be changed to move traffic around an accident or open up additional lanes of travel on a busy days, a welcome addition for anyone who travels that section of I-17.
"Clearly, the travelers do need additional space on the I-17," said Perry.
ADOT hopes to begin construction by 2021.
ADOT I-17 Anthem Way to Cordes Junction Transportation Study