ADOT hopes eastbound US 60 will reopen early next week in Tempe

During a news conference on Thursday, ADOT officials said they hope the eastbound side can be reopened early next week.
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 2:59 PM MST|Updated: May. 13, 2022 at 8:23 AM MST
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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The Arizona Department of Transportation now has a goal of when it hopes to reopen part of the U.S. 60 in Tempe after it shut down due to a water main break five days ago. During a news conference on Thursday, ADOT officials said they hope the eastbound side can be reopened early next week. They don’t have a timeline of when the westbound side can reopen. A city engineer said the reconstruction process has already started on the eastbound lanes.

“Once tested the concrete is strengthened and hardened sufficiently and asphalt surface will be poured on top. Shortly thereafter it can be striped and the roadway opened to traffic,” said Julian Dresang. “It’s also difficult working with the location. It’s right underneath the McClintock bridge area so we want to make sure that we’re not damaging that existing infrastructure.”

It's been five days since a water main break shut down the U.S. 60 in Tempe but officials are hopeful to have a partial reopening next week.

ADOT said reinforced concrete has already been put down, and crews are going to put down a second layer on Thursday night. Once that dries, they’ll put the asphalt on top and then put lane markers. When that’s all done, that direction of the freeway will reopen. ADOT said the water main break caused a lot more damage on the westbound side of the Superstition Freeway, and crews needed to remove concrete from the full width of the freeway. The freeway is closed in both directions from Rural Road to Loop 101.

Det. Natalie Barela with the Tempe Police Department is asking people to remain patient as crews continue to work. “We ask people not to utilize neighborhoods and side streets to get through. So again, we ask for people’s patience. Our traffic motors will be out first thing tomorrow morning running some additional stop time at the lights to alleviate some traffic.”

The 24-inch water line broke early Saturday morning, flooding a portion of the U.S. 60 near McClintock Drive with about 8 million gallons of water. After a few days of investigating, officials found the break originated just north of the freeway between the pedestrian bridge and the overpass, closer to the offramp near McClintock Drive. The pipe is about 20 to 22 feet underground.

“We don’t have an estimate for opening Westbound US 60 at this time. But we are working as quickly as possible to make that happen,” said Dresang.

On Wednesday, the McClintock Drive overpass at the U.S. 60 was also closed for most of the day because of cracks found before one lane in each direction reopened in the evening. The bridge was then closed again briefly on Thursday. While the city now sets its sights on necessary repairs, officials say it’s unclear what the estimated costs will be, but the break shouldn’t impact any water customers.

Tempe and ADOT officials gave a timeline on when they hope to partially reopen the U.S. 60 from Rural Road to the Loop 101.