Ahwatukee residents around Desert Foothills Parkway and Liberty Lane can expect to see one hassle end and another begin early next year.
Months after it had expected to finish the Liberty Lane work, the Arizona Department of Transportation now expects it will be completely done by February.
But right after that work is done, crews will begin building the Desert Foothills Parkway interchange for the South Mountain Freeway – the last interchange on the Pecos Road segment before ADOT opens the 22-mile highway by the end of 2019. The interchange at 32nd Street won’t be built until after the freeway opens.
Liberty Lane had been restricted to eastbound traffic on a 1.3-mile stretch between Desert Foothills Parkway and west of 20th Way to provide a safe work zone for the excavation that began in March. Part of it was restored to two-way traffic earlier this fall.
“Construction of the new waterline is complete and is currently being tested,” ADOT spokesman Dustin Krugel said last week. “The waterline will be connected to the city of Phoenix water main before the end of this year. “
But there’s still work to be done, he added:
“In addition, new curb, gutter, sidewalks and paving is expected to be completed by end of January. Following that, final lane striping and a pavement surface treatment – slurry seal – will occur in February.”
Once that’s all done, the interchange work will begin.
ADOT has cited three reasons for the long delay.
First, the 4-foot-diameter pipe itself – which had to conform to rigid city specifications – couldn’t be delivered until June by the company that manufactures it.
Thompson Pipe Group in Grand Prairie, Texas, said it needed ADOT to complete its design plans. Because of other orders and because ADOT had to wait for comments on the design by various agencies, including the city Water Services Department, Thompson Pipe was at a standstill on the order.
The pipe is “specifically engineered and manufactured” for the alignment and depth of the Liberty Lane project, Krugel said earlier this year.
Then came summer, when water use is higher, so the work had to be delayed for several more months.
Geology worsened the delay.
“Dealing with the hardness of rock and a large concentration of underground utilities near Desert Foothills Parkway has slowed work recently,” ADOT said in a release last week. “Special drilling equipment has been used to help break up the rock so workers can excavate a trench for the waterline.”