Construction begins on I-17 from Phoenix to Sunset Point: What to expect and for how long

Construction is underway on the I-17 improvement project – we have the details on what Arizona drivers can expect and how long this project is going to be going on.

Construction began on the night of Sept. 26 on 23 miles of I-17 from Anthem all the way up to Sunset Point. This includes widening the highway and the installation of flex lanes to help with traffic.

"From Anthem Way to Black Canyon City, we are going to be widening the highway, adding one lane in each direction, and then from Black Canyon City to Sunset Point, we are going to be adding two flex lanes along the existing southbound lanes," Laura Douglas with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) explained.

Drivers can expect the entire 23-mile stretch to be a construction zone for the next three years. ADOT says to plan accordingly.

"Restrictions will typically happen in the overnight hours, during the weeknights from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.," Douglas said.

The two-lane highway often turns into a parking lot when Valley drivers are heading north for a weekend away, or south coming home to the Valley.

"I want all drivers to be aware that ADOT is adding lanes to improve safety and reduce driver frustration by relieving the congestion the current configuration causes," said ADOT Director John Halikowski. "Although there will be additional lanes, it is up to drivers to behave responsibly, operate their vehicles according to the law and, above all, be patient and courteous with each other. Let's get everyone safely home."

Some drivers are happy to hear the $446 million project is getting underway. Others who live and work in Black Canyon City are bracing for what’s going to be a tough commute.

ADOT says the two flex lanes will change direction based on need, and safety was paramount in the design process.

"They will be separated by a concrete barrier. There’s a lot that goes into the flex lanes technology-wise. There’s going to be a series of electronic gates that show drivers they are open either northbound or southbound. You’ll have overhead signs directing traffic," Douglas explained.

This project is the first of its kind in Arizona, and as ADOT says, a much-needed infrastructure investment.

You can learn more information about the project and sign up for updates here.

"When you talk about things like jobs, the economy, businesses relocating, you need the transportation infrastructure to make it all happen and to make it work," Douglas said.