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Fri, Nov. 22

ADOT expects major changes at 69/89 interchange

PRESCOTT - The construction phase that state officials originally predicted would be the most disruptive of the several phases in the massive overhaul of the 69/89 interchange should be coming to a close tonight.

Late this evening and early Thursday morning, the Arizona Department of Transportation expects workers to take a number of steps that will complete the third phase of the $23.6 million 69/89 interchange overhaul, and will set the stage for the final six months or so of construction.

When drivers approach the interchange Thursday morning, they should immediately notice two major changes: the removal of the temporary traffic signal near the northbound-to-Highway 89 ramp and the opening of the new Highway 69 bridge into Prescott.

On Tuesday, ADOT Resident Engineer Andrew Roth was relatively confident that the changes would take place Wednesday night, although he said some uncertainty still existed about whether the contractor would be able to get the necessary asphalt in time to do the work.

If the asphalt is not available tonight, Roth said, the changes likely would have to wait for at least another week.

Even so, Roth said Tuesday, "We're going on the assumption" that the work will occur tonight.

Back in November 2008, ADOT imposed a number of traffic restrictions at the interchange that allowed construction workers to have greater access for building the new Highway 69 bridge and demolishing the old structure.

At that time, crews closed down Highway 89 traffic under the bridge, and installed the temporary traffic signal near the northbound-to-Highway 89 ramp to detour drivers around the bridge.

By Thursday morning, Roth expects traffic to again be moving under the bridge, although he said only two lanes would be available for a couple of months, while crews finish work on the tie-in.

In making the switch, ADOT said drivers will face a number of temporary traffic restrictions Wednesday night, including:

• Westbound 69 will close from 8 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m., Thursday, with a partial closure at Prescott Lakes Parkway, and a total closure at Heather Heights.

• Crews will restrict eastbound 69 traffic to one lane from Robinson to Heather Heights, with no access to northbound 89. Access to northbound 89 will be via Prescott Lakes Parkway.

• Southbound 89 will be open on the southwest ramp, as it has been.

On Thursday morning, the changes will include:

• Westbound 69 traffic coming 5into Prescott will be over the new bridge in two lanes. Traffic will split after the bridge to access either Gurley or Sheldon on the new ramps.

• For traffic exiting Prescott, eastbound 69 traffic will remain in the two lanes it has been in for the past several months.

• Southbound 89 traffic will remain on the southwest ramp, as it has been for several months.

ADOT began the interchange overhaul project in December 2007 and expects the project to be complete by fall 2009. Along with the new bridge, the improvements include a new VA Hospital entrance, a widened roadway, and a multi-use trail.

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