August 12, 2011After many years of planning preliminary work on the new Cordes Junction Interchange is finally about to begin.Excerpts from Heidi Dahms Foster’s report in the local paper BIG BUG NEWS July 27. 2011 edition:“The Arizona Dept. of Transportation on July 15. accepted a bid of $50.9 million from Vastco of Chino Valley and Sundt Construction of Tempe to complete the approximately 2 year project. Construction will begin on August 1. 2011.The Cordes Interchange is a joint venture between Vastco and Sundt. Companies already have begun to relocate utilities at the construction site and Vastco-Sundt has put up a construction trailer and stated amassing needed equipment and materials.ADOT community relations project manager Bill Pederson said that initial construction will not impact travelers for the first couple of month of the project. “In Phase I the contractor constructs a temporary detour, where SR69 comes from Prescott and drivers turn southbound to Phoenix, so they can work on the ramp and area south of I-17 and SR69 to allow crews working space to build the bridge and roadway alignment. That will take place for the first couple of month.”Pederson said ADOT is currently working on a newsletter it will distribute throughout the project to keep the public abreast of traffic news and new developements as they occur.The increase in traffic on Interstate 17 and State Route 69 made reconstruction of the interchange, originally built in the 1960’s, necessary.More than 27,500 vehicles daily use the interchange, ADOT officials said. The ADOT website predicts that traffic will more than double by 2020.Plans for the new interchange include removal of two outdated loop ramps, new structures to carry Prescott-bound traffic over I-17, and construction of a new diamond interchange about a mile north of the existing interchange. The project also will separate high-speed traffic from slower, local Cordes Lakes traffic, Pederson said. “The Interchange will look very different when we’re through”, he said. “The new configuration will be much safer and more functional.””We will post periodic updates on this.