AASHTO Journal, 30 September 2016
Arizona drivers who have been anticipating a new bridge to carry US 95 traffic over flood-prone Fortuna Wash near Yuma don’t have much longer to wait. The state Department of Transportation said the bridge that will end rain delays there should begin taking traffic by the end of November.
ADOT said final work should be completed by spring 2017, but once the bridge opens this autumn only minor interruptions are expected through the rest of the project.
US 95 is the only north-south route connecting Yuma with Interstate 10 and Arizona locations along the Colorado River. Until now, ADOT said it has taken drivers through the wash and has been subject to unexpected closures during heavy rains.
“The bridge will make US 95 a safer and more-reliable route for agriculture, international trade and seasonal visitors,” the announcement said.
“This bridge is a crucial safety project and will be a huge benefit for the entire region,” said ADOT Southwest District Engineer Paul Patane. “Motorists and commercial vehicles rely on this roadway every day, and with this they can be confident that they won’t be stopped when the wash is flooded.”
The 600-foot bridge about 12 miles northeast of the city will also make travel more reliable for employees and cargo shipments at Yuma Proving Ground, a U.S. Army facility with more than 3,000 military and civilian employees.
The Proving Ground is the Yuma area’s largest employer, and home to General Motors’ hot-weather vehicle test facility. ADOT said it has an economic impact of more than $430 million annually.
The Fortuna Wash bridge is designed to take four lanes of traffic, but will initially be striped for two lanes with center-turn lane. ADOT said the project’s $15 million cost was partially funded by a $3.2 million federal grant.