Tempe plans to reopen the westbound lanes of U.S. 60 between Loop 101 and McClintock Drive early next week after an underground water pipe burst and flooded the highway two weeks ago.
The 24-inch steel transmission line burst on May 7 and flooded the highway with 8 million gallons of water, according to Kris Baxter-Ging, a spokesperson for Tempe. The incident left commuters scrambling to find alternate routes. City and transportation officials said they don’t yet know what caused the pipe to burst.
Tempe officials called the burst particularly unusual because the pipe was only 50 years old at the time of its rupture. The city installed the pipe in 1973 and said it should have lasted 75 years. The city plans to evaluate the cause of the burst but won’t offer “any speculation” right now.
While the ruptured pipe might have upset traffic, it didn’t affect Tempe’s residential water service.
The city reopened eastbound lanes on the damaged section of the highway last Sunday. Construction crews continued to pour concrete for the westbound lanes last night.
The city will repurpose the asphalt and concrete that were damaged from the burst as fill material for the I-10 Broadway Curve Improvement Project, saving taxpayers money and preventing additional waste in a landfill, according to a May 17 press release. A Tempe spokesperson could not provide an exact figure.
“Sustainability is very important to the city of Tempe,” Chris Kabala, principal civil engineer for Tempe, said in a video update Tuesday. “We are glad that this material is being used over here and not being shipped somewhere to a landfill.”
The city does not yet have an estimate for how much the ruptured pipe and reconstruction work will cost.
Information for commuters
Until Tempe reopens the westbound lanes of US 60 between Loop 101 and McClintock Drive, commuters can use on-ramps at McClintock Drive, Rural Road and Mill Avenue, since those ramps are located west of the area where repair work is taking place.
Any US 60 traffic headed west approaching the closure will be redirected to north or south Loop 101.
- Drivers who travel north on Loop 101 can use Loop 202 west toward Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport or to the downtown Phoenix area.
- Motorists who use southbound Loop 101 can head west on Loop 202 in the Chandler area to connect to I-10.