May 9, 2014 8:34 PM
PHOENIX - If your travel plans on Saturday or Sunday include heading to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, it would be a good idea to allow even more time due to a closure of Interstate 10 near the airport and downtown Phoenix.
An Arizona Public Service Co. power line project requires parts of I-10 to be closed in both directions in Phoenix this weekend, which will create traffic challenges for Sky Harbor travelers.
Westbound I-10 will be closed between the I-17 Split interchange near the airport and Seventh Avenue and eastbound I-10 will be closed between the I-17 Stack interchange and the Loop 202/State Route 51 interchange from 2 a.m. Saturday to 11 p.m. Sunday (May 11), according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
I-10 traffic will detour in either direction along Interstate 17 between the Stack and Split interchanges, but heavy congestion and delays will occur in the area.
Sky Harbor travelers are urged to plan ahead, allow extra travel time and consider alternate ways to approach or leave the airport to avoid the weekend freeway congestion, including:
• East Valley drivers should plan on using westbound Loop 202 (Red Mountain Freeway) to the Sky Harbor exit leading to the airport's east end entrance.
• West Valley drivers should consider avoiding eastbound I-10 near the I-17 junction and instead work on a travel plan using surface streets to get to the airport. Allow extra travel time.
• Travelers using southbound I-17 from northern Arizona should consider using eastbound Loop 101 and southbound State Route 51 to approach the airport. The southbound SR 51 ramp to eastbound I-10 leading to the Sky Harbor exit will be open, although heavier traffic is expected.
• Drivers heading to Sky Harbor from Tucson should also allow extra travel time and be prepared to use northbound State Route 143 (Hohokam Expressway) to the airport's east entrance.
The I-10 closure is required to allow crews working on the APS project to safely remove three older power lines and replace them with six new power lines in the area of the Seventh Street overpass. According to APS, the work will add a second circuit to the Seventh Street power-line system to meet higher electrical demands and ensure greater reliability in the Phoenix area.
The weekend of May 10-11 was selected for the I-10 closure to allow APS to get the necessary work done before much-hotter summer weather arrives and before electric power demand climbs this summer. The weekend also was chosen because the Arizona Diamondbacks will be playing out of town in Chicago.
While the APS power line work is underway, ADOT also will have crews conducting maintenance work in and near the I-10 Deck Park Tunnel.
Updated information about the scheduled May 10-11 closure of I-10 in Phoenix for the APS power line project will be available on the ADOT Twitter feed (@ArizonaDOT), on the ADOT website (azdot.gov) and through the agency's Traveler Information System (az511.gov or by calling 5-1-1 in Arizona).