New lanes open on eastbound I-10 in Tempe, Ahwatukee  

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ADOT is advising drivers I-10 will be reduced to one lane from the Loop 202 south to Riggs Road this weekend, and advises motorists to seek alternate routes. [ADOT photo]

Drivers frustrated by frequent closures and lane restrictions on Interstate 10 in the Southeast Valley finally have been rewarded for their patience.

Arizona Department of Transportation on Monday opened new eastbound lanes south of Baseline Road as part of the I-10/Broadway Curve Improvement Project. The move is expected to create a smoother commute for Maricopans who work in areas fed by I-10 and U.S. 60.

Since last fall, ADOT has been widening I-10 on the outside edge of the freeway. That work wrapped up early Monday morning, expanding the freeway to five general-purpose lanes, one HOV lane and an auxiliary lane from Baseline to Elliot Road. From Elliot to the project’s southern boundary at Chandler Boulevard there are four general-purpose lanes, an HOV lane and an auxiliary lane.

The fifth lane from Baseline to Elliot roads accommodates drivers merging onto eastbound I-10 from U.S. 60.

“Opening the new eastbound travel lanes early in the life of this massive project provides tremendous value to thousands of motorists,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “We are delighted we could make it happen and improve the afternoon and evening commute home for so many of our customers in Guadalupe, Tempe, Chandler and other areas of the Southeast Valley. We know this project is highly impactful in other areas of I-10, the U.S. 60 and State Route 143. Opening new travel lanes is one way we’re striving to reduce the project’s impacts for at least some motorists in the project area.”

Additional work is ongoing, including widening westbound I-10 and the Guadalupe Road bridge. Crews will be working behind the concrete barrier, limiting the need for highway restrictions or closures.

ADOT reminds motorists to slow down and use caution in the work zone. The maximum posted speed limit in the construction zone is 55 mph, even when workers are not present.