By Tom Herrmann / ADOT Communications
Quietly, without much fanfare, Arizona Department of Transportation crews are moving traffic on westbound Interstate 10 back to the original bridge over Wilmot Road. No ceremony, no ribbon cutting. Just business as usual, and on to the next project.
For the second time in two summers, we used a temporary bridge that allowed us to make repairs and repave the two I-10 bridges over a major Tucson roadway. Back in May, we slid it into position in the median and created a temporary road connecting the bridge with the I-10 lanes that have been carrying traffic in this part of the city since 1965.
For the first three months, eastbound traffic moved to the left, crossed the temporary span, moved back to the right and continued on toward Benson and beyond. Then it was westbound traffic’s turn to do the same thing.
Drivers hardly noticed. The freeway had two lanes open in each direction almost the entire time. There were just a few restrictions on Wilmot Road below the bridges, and most of those took place at night to avoid inconveniencing too many drivers.
But that simple, creative effort to use a temporary bridge saved Tucson area drivers more than they realize. Without the bridge, drivers would have been required to merge into the right lane, exit and then re-enter I-10 and get back up to freeway speed. Delays on I-10 would have been tremendous. Life would have been no better on Wilmot Road, which likely would have been closed with detours for most of the nearly six months it took to repair and repave the bridges.
Instead, there were few delays, few restrictions on Wilmot Road and no additional traffic clogging Craycroft and Kolb roads. The I-10 bridges at Wilmot Road are essentially new bridges without the cost or inconvenience of building new ones.
And a month ahead of schedule, well before the coming holidays, our trucks are back in the maintenance yard and our crews are on the way to their next jobs.
Nice work by the men and women in the orange vests and yellow hard hats.