The Arizona Department of Transportation has begun a project to replace the State Route 79 bridge over the Gila River in Florence, using an innovative process that will minimize traffic restrictions and delays.
ADOT is using an accelerated bridge construction technique that will involve building the new bridge in two halves on either side of the existing structure, then sliding the sections into place. New piers will be constructed under the existing bridge to support the new structure as part of a process that will keep the bridge open while construction crews can work with only minimal disruption to traffic on SR 79.
The new bridge will include one lane in each direction. Unlike the existing structure, the new one will include 8-foot shoulders and a protected pedestrian walkway on the bridge’s west side.
The $22.1 million project is expected to take about 18 months. During construction, drivers should expect a reduced speed limit but few other lane restrictions or delays. Also, some oversized vehicles may need to use an alternate route. For safety purposes, pedestrians, bicyclists and off-road vehicles are asked to stay out of the work zone in the riverbed and use an alternate route.
Both lanes of traffic will remain open until the bridge halves are slid into place. That will require two weekends in which the bridge is restricted to a single lane, and a temporary traffic signal will allow only one direction of traffic to flow at a time.
For more information, please visit the SR 79 bridge replacement project page.