Lane closures on Gavilan Peak Parkway in Anthem caused traffic headaches for students at Boulder Creek High School Monday morning, leading the school’s principal to announce that students would not be docked for being late to the day’s first class. One student said he saw dozens of others arriving after the bell due to the traffic issues. The problem could last weeks, though a firm estimate hasn’t been made.
The principal, Brittany Sutton, later said in an automated call to parents that those driving to the school from Tuesday onward should depart “at least 10 to 15 minutes early” in the morning to allow for the congestion.
The four-lane roadway is reduced to two lanes near the entrances to Boulder Creek down to just north of Daisy Mountain Drive, with blocked turn lanes and a temporary posted speed limit of 25 mph.
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Crews are hooking up a new mini-storage facility to the sewer line, said Jeff Eells, senior project manager at Johnson Carlier, the project’s construction firm.
The portion of the project causing the road closure was supposed to be completed in a few days, Eells told North Phoenix News Monday afternoon. “But we encountered some problems.” He did not yet know how long it would take to solve the problem and re-open the roadway. Asked if it would be days or weeks, he said “it won’t be days.”
Sutton did not have a time estimate, either, but she said it could last as long as late December. She hinted at some limited flexibility on tardiness.
“We need students in class on time,” Sutton told North Phoenix News Monday night. “It is crucial that students do not miss instruction—especially since we are so close to the end of the semester and final exams are swiftly approaching.”
If is a student is late, they are to report to the front office as normal, “and then we will handle it on a case-by-case basis,” she said. “We are closely monitoring the traffic and parking lot, which will help us help a student if he or she is running late due to traffic being backed up.”
Eells said his firm has arranged with law enforcement for traffic control officers to be on scene during the morning and afternoon school rush. He said that would start “very soon” but did not yet know which day.
The road closure was approved by the Maricopa County Department of Transportation, Eells said. A MCDOT spokesperson said that for projects like this, the agency reviews traffic control plans for safety and compliance with traffic rules, but does not oversee the construction.
This article was updated at 10:12 p.m. to include additional information from Principal Sutton.