Nine-month Street Enhancement Project to be Completed in time for Arizona Centennial; City of Phoenix in Partnership with ADOT and Arizona Centennial Commission

Posted on by az100

May 17, 2011

The city of Phoenix, in partnership with the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Arizona Centennial Commission, broke ground today on a project that will become the new Centennial Way, a highly-anticipated $7.1 million project to transform Washington Street between Central and 19th avenues, with major improvements to be focused upon the area between 7th and 16th avenues.  The bulk of the project is slated for completion in December, with final landscape elements installed by Arizona’s Centennial on Feb. 14, 2012.

The groundbreaking today occurred in front of the Carnegie Library, 1101 West Washington St.  The library was built in 1908 with a grant from Andrew Carnegie, and served as the Phoenix Public Library through 1954.

The streetscape project is primarily funded by a federal transportation enhancement grant, with the remainder provided by the city of Phoenix. The improvements will deliver a facelift to a streetscape that acts as an unofficial gateway to the Arizona State Capitol complex.  It will complement shade and design initiatives already underway by the city of Phoenix, and is designed to greet the millions of visitors to Wesley Bolin Plaza, the Capitol Museum and other historic landmarks, monuments and architecture throughout the Capitol Mall area.

Once complete, the revived arterial leading to Arizona’s seat of government will become a point of historical significance itself. All of this, and just in time for a unique moment in state history: Arizona’s 100th Statehood Day.

“When Centennial Way is completed, it will be the result of several visionary stakeholders coming together to create a streetscape of which Arizonans can be proud,” said Governor Jan Brewer, who led groundbreaking festivities. “It will be a noteworthy thoroughfare leading to our state’s capitol and to downtown Phoenix as well, and incorporate elements of our state’s culture and diversity from every corner of Arizona. It will be a fitting tribute to our 15 counties and our 22 Native American tribes.  The result, I believe, will be an improvement that is fitting as we approach Arizona’s 100 years of statehood.”

Mayor Phil Gordon said: “Arizona’s natural beauty is known all over the world. With the Centennial Way project, we’re doing even more to ensure that our state’s manmade public spaces measure up to that lofty standard while integrating some of Arizona’s signature elements.  Centennial Way takes the best of downtown Phoenix’s renaissance and moves it west to the Capitol Mall, an area poised for revitalization and redevelopment that establishes Phoenix as a national example of a 21st century Capitol City.”

Once complete, the revived arterial leading to Arizona’s seat of government will become a point of historical significance itself.

The major improvement project is slated to include: widened, decorative sidewalks and defined crosswalks; accessibility-compliant curb ramps; bike lanes; enhanced street and pedestrian lighting; benches and ‘wayfinding’ signage; shade canopies; displays that feature Arizona’s 15 counties; and historical signage. A “Tribal Walk” will reflect Arizona’s 22 Native American Tribes, and the shade canopy design will provide cooling comfort as well as seating and historical information.

The project also will resurface and re-stripe the roadway within the project area.

Extra effort has been made to affirm that accurate and appropriate historical, cultural and regional elements are incorporated into Centennial Way.  For example: the project team consulted with the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona to design the Tribal Walk, and structural designers worked with representatives of each Arizona county to create thematic shade structures with customized information from each county.

During initial presentations to area stakeholder organizations, the most important issue to be addressed was shade.  The conclusion: while the Palo Verde may be the state tree, it is not necessarily the preferred choice for shade along a street.  Therefore, the project team integrated use of the Palo Verde and other complimentary species, such as the Evergreen Elm and Chinese Pistache.  The landscape plan will complement the existing parade of historic palm trees along Washington Street by designing a deeper setback for the future Evergreen Elms and other tree species.

Construction begins this month; by December, the project will be substantially complete.  Final landscape elements will be added prior to Feb. 14, 2012, the day of the Arizona Centennial, when the dedication of Centennial Way also is planned.

Centennial Way ( is a project of the city of Phoenix with Achen-Gardner/Entellus Design-Build Team selected as the project team to design and construct these improvements. Other contractors include Waibel & Associates (landscaping), CR Engineers (lighting), Del Sol Group (environmental), Ninyo & Moore (geotechnical), Caid Industries (signage) and MakPro Services (community relations).

Arizona celebrates its 100 years of statehood on Feb. 14, 2012, and Centennial Way is a Signature Project of the Arizona Centennial Commission, one of several activities in a year-long countdown campaign entitled Celebrate the Arizona Experience.


About Arizona Centennial Commission.

The Arizona Centennial Commission, through its nonprofit Arizona Centennial 2012 Foundation, is the statewide board charged by Governor Jan Brewer with planning and implementing Arizona’s 100th anniversary of statehood.  In collaboration with the Arizona Historical Advisory Commission, more than 209 projects and events are sanctioned and planned-to-date to commemorate Arizona’s Centennial. For information on the Arizona Centennial, visit

Media Contacts:

Katie Sauer, Arizona Centennial Commission
Cynthia P. Dunne, FleurComGroup
Sina Matthes, City of Phoenix
Celebrate Arizona

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