Scottsdale bridge progresses over flood-prone wash

Today’s Arizona Republic had this article on the Indian Bend wash construction.  Be prepared for detouring in the months ahead.

Scottsdale bridge progresses over flood-prone wash

by Jane Larson – Jul. 14, 2008 08:39 AM
The Arizona Republic

Concrete arches of the Indian Bend Road bridge are poured, and by this time next year Scottsdale motorists will no longer worry about flooding in that stretch of Indian Bend Wash.

The $26 million bridge between Hayden and Scottsdale roads will be ready in early 2009, said city spokeswoman Annie DeChance.

Workers began pouring concrete for the bridge in April, and have completed 60 percent of the span, she said.

For months motorists have faced traffic restrictions, and later this year they will have to find another way around.

Indian Bend Road soon to close

After the summer monsoons, motorists will face a months-long period when that stretch of Indian Bend Road will simply be closed.

Construction crews will be finishing the bridge, connecting it to the realigned road and building other parts of the project.

The Indian Bend Road closure through the wash originally was set to begin this summer, and last for five months.

DeChance said the closure was pushed back by bad weather and because the city is waiting for construction on McDonald Drive – another of the city’s key east-west routes, a mile to the south – to finish.

For months a stretch of McDonald – also between Hayden and Scottsdale roads – has been reduced to one lane in each direction. That project should be mostly done by August, the city estimates.

Neighbors react to project

Indian Bend Road neighbors are most concerned about where the new roadway will go, area resident Dennis Suchocki said.

"We go down Indian Bend and say, ‘What’s this going to look like?’ " he said. "They’re going to do what they’re going to do. We’re just hoping good things happen."

The bridge project will realign the current two-lane road, widening it to four lanes – two in each direction – and curving south to connect with the new bridge.

Work is more than just a bridge

The current road through the wash will be replaced by a concrete slope, finished in exposed aggregate, to prevent erosion.

The rest of the project, including public art, is to be complete by the end of 2009, DeChance said. April 2009 was the original target.

The project will include a landscaped median, bike lanes, a sidewalk on the south side, bus shelters, turn lanes at Scottsdale and Hayden roads and a connection between the Indian Bend Wash multiuse path and the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park.

Public art for the project is being constructed by Seattle artists Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan.

Public art: Five gargoyle horses

It will feature five horse gargoyles, made of aluminum, to be installed on the concrete slope north of the bridge. The bridge and six public-art walls will sport red tiles marking the water depth in one-foot increments.

The construction project started in September and is designed to eliminate Indian Bend Road closures due to flooding. Drivers made 14,400 trips a day in 2006 on Indian Bend between Scottsdale and Hayden roads, according to transportation studies.

Two motorists made national television news in 2006 when they drove into four-foot-deep floodwaters flowing across the road and firefighters had to rescue them.

The two later paid fines for ignoring flood-warning signs.


  1. Irene, I live in Iowa where we have had ongoing flooding here since early June, and I must say, anything cities can do to protect their citizens from flooding is a good thing, even when it causes some inconvenience for drivers needing to take altnernate routes during the construction.

    We also had huge floods here in 1993, and at that time the flood waters infiltrated the Des Moines Waterworks, which took around 3 months to get cleaned up. They learned from that hard lesson, and this year their levy barriers have been substantially taller than even the high flood waters.

    Helping to prevent motorists from tragedies by building your bridges is certainly a good thing; too many people try to drive through flooded roads. Mother Nature is becoming more and more unpredictable, and with all the dams and levies that continue to be built, water will be diverted to areas where it has not gone before, leading to poor choices by drivers.

    It is great you are warning your local drivers about the detours!