ADOT addresses frequent I-17 closures

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ADOT is looking to proposals that would make driving easier on the I-17 but it will take a lot of money. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) ADOT is looking to proposals that would make driving easier on the I-17 but it will take a lot of money. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
A brush fire closed the freeway for hours Sunday night, stranding weekend road-trippers, and creating a backup which stretched miles in both directions. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A brush fire closed the freeway for hours Sunday night, stranding weekend road-trippers, and creating a backup which stretched miles in both directions. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
ADOT is planning a $175 million project to add lanes to the I-17 between Anthem and Black Canyon City. That work should start in three years. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) ADOT is planning a $175 million project to add lanes to the I-17 between Anthem and Black Canyon City. That work should start in three years. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The state is also looking into the possibility of adding "demand lanes." (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The state is also looking into the possibility of adding "demand lanes." (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) knows people are frustrated with the latest series of closures of the Interstate 17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff.

In the last month, the freeway has been closed, or partially closed, at least nine times, either due to a crash or a nearby brush fire.

[RELATED: Brush fire contained near I-17 and Loop 303 contained]

A brush fire closed the freeway for hours Sunday night, stranding weekend road-trippers, and creating a backup which stretched miles in both directions.

[READ MORE: Brush fire near Sunset Point prompts lane closures, causes traffic backup]

"Everyone would love an easy answer to the I-17. We wish we could snap our fingers and [create] new lanes on the 17," ADOT's Doug Nintzel said.

Alternate routes are inconvenient. The normally two-hour, 20-minute drive from Phoenix to Flagstaff, grows an extra hour if you take State Route 87 through Payson. It takes an extra two hours if you go through Wickenburg, Prescott and Sedona.

"And those are not easy routes to take," Nintzel said, advising drivers to check social media before hitting the road and to postpone a trip until traffic starts moving again.

ADOT is planning a $175 million project to add lanes to the I-17 between Anthem and Black Canyon City. That work should start in three years.

The state is also looking into the possibility of adding "demand lanes."

[RELATED: ADOT considering reversible lanes on I-17 north of Phoenix]

"They could be used for traffic in either direction, depending on what the need is. They would carry busier northbound traffic on a Friday afternoon, and busier southbound traffic on a Sunday afternoon. We're exploring that idea," Nintzel said.

However, without funding, Nintzel said that plan will not move forward.

[RELATED: I-17 needs an update but ADOT lacks funding]

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Jared DillinghamJared anchors the weekend newscasts at 5, 6, 9 and 10pm on both 3TV and CBS5. He also reports during the week for both stations.

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Jared Dillingham

Over his decade in Phoenix, Jared has worked all shifts at 3TV, including a yearlong stint anchoring the weekend morning show.

Since 2007, Jared has covered everything from Senator John McCain's campaign for president, to the Jodi Arias trial, to the largest wildfire in Arizona history.

Jared grew up in New York, and graduated from Syracuse University with degrees in broadcast journalism and political science.

After internships at News12 Long Island and NBC in Washington, DC, Jared moved to beautiful "Big Sky Country." He spent a year at KRTV in Great Falls, Montana, before moving to KREM in Spokane, Washington.

The Valley has truly become "home" for Jared. He lives in Phoenix, and spends his mornings listening to as many news/political podcasts as possible, while walking his (now elderly) rescue dogs, Gabby and Bree.

On his days off, Jared can be found at any of the local restaurants which have popped up in the city since he first moved here, or hiking Piestewa Peak or Camelback Mountain.

He also travels as much as possible and runs a blog with advice on visiting cities around the world.

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