The final phase of the Beeline Highway expansion two southbound lanes near Sunflower opened Thursday just in time for Memorial Day traffic.
Road crews around the state will halt highway construction during the holiday weekend to ensure safer travel, Arizona Department of Transportation officials said.
The seven-mile southbound stretch will ease the flow of traffic returning to the Valley from Payson, Pine, Strawberry and the Mogollon Rim, ADOT project supervisor Keith Ball said.
The $55.6-million Sunflower project widened the last two-lane stretch of the Beeline between Payson and Scottsdale to four lanes.
Some traffic will be restricted, however. Northbound motorists heading for the high country Friday and Saturday will be diverted into one northbound lane at Sunflower because crews have not had time to remove a double yellow stripe that has separated north and southbound traffic on the northbound lanes for the past month, Ball said.
The seven-mile Sunflower bypass through Kitty Joe Canyon is the last step in the Beeline expansion. It was built by Meadow Valley Contractors of Phoenix and R.E. Monks Construction of Fountain Hills.
Travel safety tips
1. Be alert and pay attention
2. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order
3. Buckle up everyone in vehicle
4. Rest well the night before the trip
5. Pack water, food and supplies
6. Don't drink and drive
7. Obey speed limits and traffic signals