Papago Freeway Tunnel

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Papago Freeway Tunnel
Papago Freeway Tunnel.jpg
Eastbound lanes near tunnel exit
Official name Deck Park Tunnel
Location Margaret T. Hance Park, Phoenix, Arizona
Coordinates 33°27′43″N 112°04′21″W / 33.462058°N 112.07252°W / 33.462058; -112.07252Coordinates: 33°27′43″N 112°04′21″W / 33.462058°N 112.07252°W / 33.462058; -112.07252
Route I‑10
Opened August 10, 1990
Operator Arizona Department of Transportation
Length 2887 feet (879.95 m)
Number of lanes 10 (5 westbound, 5 eastbound) plus 1 unused gated tunnel for city buses / emergency vehicles

The Papago Freeway Tunnel, better known to Phoenix residents as the Deck Park Tunnel, is a vehicular underpass built underneath Downtown Phoenix. It was built as part of Interstate Highway 10 in Phoenix, Arizona.


The underpass extends from approximately North 3rd Avenue to North 3rd Street. At 2,887 feet (879.95m), it ranks as the 42nd longest vehicular tunnel in the US. The underpass was the last section of Interstate 10 to be completed nationwide. There is a plaque dedicated to the commemoration of the tunnel in Margaret T. Hance Park.

Margaret T. Hance Park[edit]

The highway passes underneath three streets and a park that was named after former Phoenix Mayor Margaret Taylor Hance a few months after her death in 1990. During her mayorship, Hance was a strong proponent of the tunnel and the park.


The tunnel, which is more of a "table" design rather than an actual tunnel, is divided into two tubes, each carrying five lanes of one-way traffic flanked by two emergency lanes. Each of the two tubes can carry up to 8,000 vehicles per hour.[1] Between the two tubes exists a single-lane tube that was designed as an express terminal for city buses. The tube is unused, and the approaches on both sides of the tunnel are gated off.

Ventilation and equipment[edit]

The Deck Park Tunnel was designed to be ventilated naturally, using the cars’ energy to help propel air through the tubes. In times of heavy traffic or in the event of a fire in the tube, each tube has two backup fans that provide ventilation, in order to prevent the dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide.[1]

The underpass has a large diesel generator approximately 50 meters east of the westbound entrance to the tunnel, ensuring that the lighting, video surveillance, and intercoms have continuous power even during an outage. For the safety of motorists, intercoms are located every 150 feet (46 m) within the tunnel.


  1. ^ a b "Papago Tunnel Response". Retrieved 6 June 2014.