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Jacks Canyon Road in the Village of Oak Creek remains closed weeks after the original reopen date.
By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers
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Jacks Canyon Road in the Village of Oak Creek remains closed weeks after the original reopen date.

Construction delays caused the Jacks Canyon Road segment of the Hwy. 179 Improvement Project to be delayed but Arizona Department of Transportation officials said it won’t affect the project as a whole.

“In the overall scheme of things, it doesn’t affect the project completion date,” ADOT construction engineer Pat Cusey said.

Originally, ADOT predicted Jacks Canyon Road would be reopened by mid-December.

Now, ADOT said its goal is to have the road open by the end of January.

Unanticipated problems with storm drain installation and utilities held up completion of the road, Hwy. 179 Improvement Project Manager Carl Burkhalter said.

“They’re hitting a lot of rock,” Burkhalter said.

While digging trenches for the 84-inch to 96-inch storm drainage pipes, construction crews found solid rock underneath the topsoil.

Burkhalter said this made the task much harder than they had planned.

Normally, according to Cusey, solid rock found unexpectedly during construction projects is blasted with dynamite.

Blasting isn’t an option on Jacks Canyon Road because of its proximity to businesses and traffic, Cusey said.

Instead, the subcontractor brought in a Hammer Hoe — a machine used to chip away at the rock.

“It’s slow-going,” Cusey said.

While the subcontractor waited for the Hammer Hoe, Cusey said crews worked on the curb, gutter and sidewalk along Jacks Canyon.

After the Hammer Hoe arrived, crews returned to work on storm drainage installation.

ADOT also spent extra time coordinating times for utility companies to take care of their lines.

Burkhalter said the delay

hasn’t affected other areas of the project. No major deadlines have been missed.

Until construction on Jacks Canyon Road is complete, ADOT plans to continue detouring traffic on Cortez Street.

The Cortez detour is something Cusey said people aren’t happy about.

But, Cusey said, VOC traffic improved since the implementation of traffic control.

ADOT striped left-turn lanes at the Bell Rock Boulevard intersection to keep traffic from backing up.

The signal at Jacks Canyon Road is now a three-way stop.

On the weekends though, Cusey said, human-powered intersection flow control — Department of Public Safety officers and ADOT flaggers — is needed to ensure traffic runs smoothly.

“I know there’s been some inconvenience,” Cusey said.

Cusey welcomes any input from the public and said comments keep ADOT on its toes.


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