Arizona DOT closing I-10 east of Tucson for bridge removal

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | 3/8/2013

The removal of an unused railroad bridge spanning Interstate 10 near Tucson will help commercial truckers shave almost 70 miles off their trips, according to officials with the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Arizona DOT will close both sections of a 21-mile stretch of I-10 to remove a low-clearance railroad bridge that is no longer in use. Trucks and other traffic will be rerouted along a 67-mile detour on state routes 82, 83 and 90. The closing will take place from mile marker 281 at Vail to mile marker 302 at Benson.

The road closure begins at 9 p.m. Mountain Time on Friday, March 8, and is expected to last until 6 a.m. on Saturday, March 9, according to ADOT spokesman Dustin Krugel.

The demolition project will remove the Pantano Union Pacific Railroad Bridge, which is only 15.5 feet above the highway.

“This bridge, which was built in 1955, is no longer in use,” Krugel said. “There’s been a new railway built nearby.”

Krugel said heavy equipment using “jaws and hammers” will pulverize the bridge while crews remove debris from the roadway. He said the department is optimistic that the demolition can be completed in the allotted time, provided there are no weather or equipment issues.

The removal is part of a $17.2-million improvement project, which is located about 1.5 miles west of the Marsh Station traffic interchange, according to an ADOT release announcing the road closing. The release states that the project also includes construction of two new bridges at Cienega Creek that will be higher than the existing bridges to ensure that the highway is not impacted by water flowing in Cienega Creek during heavy rains. Improvements are also being made to the eastbound and westbound lanes of I-10, allowing for a widened median.

ADOT has set up a website with more information, fuel locations, and a map of the detour, which can be found online at

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