by Robin Layton

Casa Grande drivers can expect to see an improved, six-lane Interstate 10 by the end of the summer of 2019.

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) started work recently on two projects in the area. The $36.6 million Casa Grande project began with workers improving the outside shoulders on the freeway to maintain two lanes of traffic as workers add a new lane in each direction in the median.

“We are widening both sections of I-10 – in Casa Grande and at Eloy – to improve both traffic flow and driver safety,” said Tom Herrmann, a spokesman for ADOT.

“I-10 is a vital corridor both for commercial traffic and for personal travel, and a six-lane freeway will allow traffic to move more smoothly.”

He added, “When these projects are completed in about 16 months, I-10 will be a six-lane freeway from milepost 187 at the north end of Casa Grande all the way to Kino Parkway in Tucson.”

The Casa Grande project “includes widening I-10 between Earley (Road) and I-8 – the entire section that is four lanes today will become six lanes – replacing the bridge over Jimmie Kerr (Boulevard) and adding a westbound auxiliary lane between I-8 and Jimmie Kerr (Boulevard). We’re scheduled for completion in late summer 2019.”

Although crews will be working near travel lanes, the project at Casa Grande isn’t expected to increase congestion in the area, according to an ADOT press release.

Lane restrictions are expected to take place at night, leaving two lanes open for traffic in both directions during heavy travel times.

The average daily traffic along I-10 in the area of Jimmie Kerr Boulevard is 43,573 vehicles.

The other project is at Eloy’s mileposts 209-213, where ADOT crews are building new lanes, adding a new traffic interchange at State Route 87 and creating a first-of-its-kind dust-detection zone, according to the press release. That project, which began in December, is scheduled to be completed in fall 2019.