Friday, January 18, 2013

(Have you seen the bridge?)

"I wanna tell you bout a good thing..."
On the northern fringe of Phoenix, this masterpiece of concrete and rusted steel crosses the I-17 at Jomax Road just south of the Central Arizona Project canal. The Jomax Bridge project was completed in August 2012, and cost taxpayers close to $2,000,000, 95% of which was federal funds.  
"And let me tell you more, oooh!"
The bridge spands 10 lanes of freeway plus two frontage roads, connecting trails in Deem Hills Recreation Area on the east side to a complex of neighborhoods north of Happy Valley Road called Norterra. Once you figure out how to navigate through Norterra, you can hike, bike or ride on another network of trails in the Sonoran Preserve. From trailhead to trailhead though, is about six not-so-scenic miles of suburban sprawl, power lines and barbed wire fence along the canal which would deter most leisure hikers from making the journey. Whether the city has plans to create more appealing routes between the bridge and the trailheads is not known, but if you love bridges, this one is a beaut!     
(Here's the view from that confounded bridge...)
It's an impressive site from inside and out and a good thing there's a sturdy cage all around it. That safety feature alone cost an extra $120,000, ensuring that both motorists and bridge crossers are less vulnerable to one another or themselves. Some folks call it Arizona's version of the Bridge to Nowhere, but I'm glad to have another option for non-motorized recreation close to home, and could see this becoming part of a marathon route or other long distance adventure.  

(Titles and subtitles taken after "The Crunge," with apologies to Led Zeppelin)


David Bickford said...
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David Bickford said...

Right now, I see usage of this bridge as limited, but there's potential for it to become a bicycle commuting route if a paved multi-use path is built along the south bank of the CAP canal. Then, we'd have a route that residents of neighborhoods like Riordan Ranch and Stetson Valley could take across the freeway before connecting with the bike lanes on Norterra Parkway. Those lead to the offices clustered near Happy Valley and I-17. I also see potential for connection of a Skunk Creek multi-use path if ever Phoenix builds such a route to complement what already exists in Glendale.

Katherine Darrow said...

Yes! I'm all for expanding the network of bike routes in the city. This one will definitely be an important link for neighborhoods in this area in the future!