The long-anticipated road construction project at the intersection of Higley and Williams Field roads has finally come to an end, which is expected to make travel easier for Gilbert residents.
The Higley and Williams Field Project widened the intersection to six lanes, which Assistant Town Engineer Edgar Medina wrote in an email, marks its “full build-out condition.”
“The project benefits all the vehicular and pedestrian travelers through the intersection as it was designed and constructed to accommodate the current and future demands,” he said.
The town of Gilbert began designing the road-widening improvements, which covers Williams Field Road from one-half mile west of Higley Road to Power Road and on Higley Road from Vest Road to a quarter mile south of Williams Field Road, in 2007. Construction for the project began in September 2012, and it faced several delays prior to the construction phase due to a confluence of purchasing factors.
“The project budget is $19.1 million of which our current expenditures have been approximately $17.6 million,” Medina said. The project will still experience expenditures due to the closeout of the acquisition process.
The Higley and Williams Field intersection was identified as a location that required improvements to address level of service and safety deficiency. The intersection had a priority ranking of two in Gilbert’s September 2012 Intersection Improvement Master Plan, Medina said.
Before the construction the intersection had two lanes in the east and west bound direction of Williams Field Road and had one lane in the north and south bound direction of Higley Road. Each lane had one left-turn lane.
It now has three lanes and a bike lane in each direction, along with the capacity for dual left turns, right-turn decal lanes, railroad crossing improvements, drainage, sidewalks and streetlights.
The railroad crossing at Higley Road was a two-lane crossing, but due to current and projected traffic volumes, more lanes were needed. The project widened the existing crossing.
As a result of the construction, historic structures, as well as Higley’s general store that was built in the early 1900s, was torn down. Completion of the construction has made it smoother for those traveling to the freeway from the north and west, Williams Field High School, Chandler-Gilbert Community College and ASU Polytechnic, as well as businesses at the intersection and in SanTan Village.
As for future projects, the town currently has the widening of the Higley and Warner intersection under design, and it is scheduled to begin construction in late June 2014.
• Kelly Kleber is a senior at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is an intern with the Tribune this semester. Reach her at email@example.com.