On June 29, 2023, the Arizona Department of Transportation announced that it will construct a first-of-its-kind highway system in Arizona. A new flex lane system will be located in a 23-mile section of Highway I-17 between Anthem and Sunset Point.
It is considered a flex lane, as it can sometimes be used to travel north, and sometimes allow traffic going south in the section.
The flex lane will address safety issues and will tackle congestion in a very challenging geographic area.
The Arizona Department of Transportation unveiled an animated video created to illustrate how the new system will work.
The flex lanes will allow northbound traffic Monday through Saturday and then will be open to southbound traffic on Sunday. However, the flex lanes will open, as needed, to any direction that has the heaviest traffic. Moreover, the flex lanes will be operational seven days a week.
The first section is scheduled to be open in 2025. The two-lane flex lane system will be adjacent to the existing southbound lanes. The first 8-mile section will open approximately 8 miles between Black Canyon City and Sunset Point.
Gates and Nets
How will it make the crossover between going north and south?
A specialized, automated net barrier and swing gate system at both ends of the flex lanes will be used to prevent vehicles from entering the flex lanes when traffic is flowing in the opposite direction.
Here is how that looks:
The ADOT Traffic Operations Center will control the gates and net barriers remotely and will monitor the flex lanes with cameras placed throughout the eight-mile flex lane corridor.
This innovative system should speed up traffic in the corridor and make it safer for people to travel in their cars and trucks north and south on I-17 above Phoenix, AZ.
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