You likely notice a couple things while driving over the Interstate 17 bridges that span the Verde River: Noise and a bit of a wobble.
The two bridges are in need of repair. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, the Verde River has had deteriorating effects on the bridges’ supports, resulting in the need for repair.
Anticipated in fall 2018, ADOT, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, will undertake an estimated six-month federally funded construction project in order to “protect the bridges and maintain their structural integrity.”
The construction will stretch from mileposts 287 to 289. Traffic will be maintained in both directions along I-17 with no anticipated detours. “Interstate 17 Verde River Bridges Scour Retrofit” will include the following:
- The creation of temporary “dry work zones” within the river bottom near the supports.
- The construction of “armor protection” around each pier.
- The restoration of the river and temporary access points to pre-construction condition.
- The “staging and stockpiling [of] materials within the project limits and outside of the low-flow river channel.”
- The reseeding of land area disturbed by construction.
The project will impact one of Camp Verde’s least-known parks, Parsons Riverfront Preserve. Camp Verde Town Council has previously voiced approval for further developing the 30-acre riverfront park, which sits alongside and under the I-17 bridges, as a wilderness preserve.
“Due to the need for access and staging and stockpiling of materials within the project limits, a future recreational resource ... will be temporarily used,” ADOT stated via press release.
"The development of this project is in compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act [policy] ‘that special effort should be made to preserve the national beauty of the countryside and public park and recreation lands wildlife and waterfowl refuges, and historic sites.’”
Because construction will restrict access to the park, ADOT has made the project open to public comment. Comments must be submitted by Tuesday, Oct. 31.