As another sign that the South Mountain Freeway is heading to its late-2019 completion target, the Arizona Department of Transportation announced last week that crews are almost finished pouring the concrete pavement for the two half-mile-long bridges that will extend over the Salt River.
“Since the first deck pour in November 2017, crews have put down approximately 11,500 cubic yards of concrete to create the driving surfaces for both bridges,” ADOT said in a release. “That’s enough concrete to build a sidewalk between downtown Phoenix and the town of Queen Creek.”
Crews are working primarily overnight, using a self-propelled concrete leveling machine called a Bid-Well to create smooth uniform decks for the bridges, located midway between Broadway Road and Southern Avenue along the 59th Avenue alignment.
“Now that the concrete has cured, construction equipment is able to use the bridges for the first time,” ADOT said. That also means trucks carrying concrete and asphalt will be able to detour around residential neighborhoods as crews extend their paving farther in either direction.
The 22-mile, eight-lane freeway will connect the Chandler and West 59th Avenue interchanges on I-10.
Deck construction is one of the final steps in building a bridge and the Salt River spans are among about 40 bridges that will become part of the thoroughfare.
Construction of the Salt River bridges began in early 2017 with substructure work creating piers and abutments to support the bridge. Crews installed 292 girders that are the largest of their kind ever used for an ADOT project.
The Salt River bridges will provide a crossing to and from Laveen, especially when the river flows, while also reducing congestion at current crossings, ADOT noted.
Phoenix’s 51st Avenue bridge is currently the lone all-weather Salt River crossing between 35th Avenue and Avondale Boulevard.
Final bridge construction will include completing lighting and painting, and installing barrier walls.