The Queen Creek Bridge just east of Superior, a structure that opened to traffic in 1949, is coming down. The Arizona Department of Transportation has begun a project to replace the 75-year-old steel arch bridge, along with the one over Waterfall Canyon just east of the Queen Creek Tunnel. The work is expected to be complete in early 2027.
Motorists who travel US Highway 60 between Superior and Miami should plan for road closures – as many as three a week – as blasting operations are conducted. An ADOT press release said the starting date for these closures would be determined in the next several weeks. The closures, when required, will be in effect from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
At those times, motorists will be detoured onto State Routes 77 and 177 through Winkelman, adding up to an hour to the trip between Globe and Superior.
During the closures, crews will work to move the highway 65 feet to the east, aligning it with the new Queen Creek Bridge, and reconstruct the Waterfall Canyon Bridge (built in 1929). Toward the end of the project, a multi-day closure of the highway will be needed to finish its realignment. Work will also include replacing guardrails and other general maintenance within and near the Queen Creek Tunnel.
The construction will also require closing some hiking, rock climbing and other recreational areas, along with the highway pullout east of the Queen Creek Tunnel. Nearby pullouts may also close intermittently. Closures will include the trails from Magma Avenue in Superior to the west of the Claypool Tunnel. The trail through the tunnel will stay open until later in the project, when active construction begins in that area.
The new Queen Creek Bridge, with one lane in each direction, will span 763 feet and have four-foot-wide shoulders. The replacement Waterfall Canyon Bridge will be 107 feet in length.
After the new Queen Creek Bridge is built, the existing structure will be taken down. Though the current bridge remains safe for traffic, according to ADOT it has reached the end of its lifespan and does not meet current bridge design standards.
The $44.7 million project was awarded to Ames Construction, who also replaced the Pinto Creek Bridge in 2021. Ames’ bid in that amount was approved by the Arizona State Transportation Board on Nov. 17, 2023. According to the board’s meeting agenda, this came in under the state’s estimate of $51 million.