Newsroom | I-10 Deck Park Tunnel in Phoenix Dedicated to Late ADOT Engineer

MAG News

The Deck Park Tunnel has been renamed. Now the Dean Lindsey I-10 Memorial Tunnel, the new name honors the civil engineer who guided development of the interstate’s downtown-area segments, including the tunnel, in the 1970s and ’80s.

Dean Lindsey managed implementation of I-10’s ‘Final Mile’ in the 1980s

The Deck Park Tunnel has been renamed. 

Now the Dean Lindsey I-10 Memorial Tunnel, the new name honors the civil engineer who guided development of the interstate’s downtown-area segments, including the tunnel, in the 1970s and ’80s. 

Known as the “final mile” of Interstate 10, the tunnel was opened to traffic in 1990, becoming the last piece of the 2,460-mile Interstate System stretching from Jacksonville, Florida, to Santa Monica, California.

New sign in front of the tunnel (left), with Dean Lindsey (center), and memorial plaque on building (right)

“There was a lot of competition for the interstate completion funds at that time,” noted former U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters at the dedication ceremony in May. “Dean really had to go to bat with (the) Federal Highway (Administration) in Washington to make sure that we got a fair share of that,” she said. “(T)his project — the park, the tunnel — is very beautiful and very much connects this city and Phoenix together. It was just an incredible accomplishment.”

Interstate Highway and Defense System

Peters noted that President Dwight Eisenhower had seen how difficult it had been in World War II to move troops, equipment, supplies, other things across the country and abroad to support the war effort, and insisted the system be called the “Interstate Highway and Defense System.”

“It was very important to our nation,” said Peters. 

Before she became Transportation Secretary, Peters served as the administrator of the Federal Highway Administration and served as the director of the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) during the time the tunnel was built. She said it was Dean Lindsey who helped her get the “hands-on, ground-level” experience that led to her success. 

Three photos showing tunnel construction

“Dean was really a mentor and a friend to me – helping me understand the federal aid system and helping me understand the newly passed Prop 300 that was going in at the same time,” said Peters. She said Lindsey recognized the need to have input from residents in designing the project.

“I dare say that in many areas, when the Interstate Highway System was built, it did not necessarily take into account the citizens that lived around it, the communities that lived around it. This one did,” stated Peters.

“PaPa’s Tunnel”

Laura Fenton, Dean Lindsey’s daughter, remembers visiting her dad at his ADOT offices where he had a drafting table and “an electric eraser that was the coolest thing.” She recalls her father loved to hike and camp the trails around Phoenix and understood the tunnel project was his chance to leave an indelible mark on the landscape of Arizona.

“But it wasn’t just about the roads and infrastructure, it was about connecting with his co-workers and the people,” said Fenton.  She said the Lindsey family extends their gratitude “from the bottom of our hearts” to those who conceived and approved the idea to honor their father.

“As Steve and I take our children through the tunnel, we always proudly say to them, ‘we’re going through PaPa’s tunnel.’ It is an honor the tunnel now bears his name and is a testament to his dedication and impact to the state of Arizona.”

Original tunnel ribbon-cutting in center flanked by Dean Lindsey on the job

250,000 Cars Pass Through Tunnel Each Day

Former colleagues joined Lindsey’s family at Margaret T. Hance Park, which is located above the tunnel through which well over 250,000 vehicles pass daily, to unveil a plaque reading “Dean Lindsey I-10 Memorial Tunnel.” The work included close collaboration with the city of Phoenix and the community on a project that was called one of the most complex in I-10 history.  

“Dean Lindsey had a reputation for bringing people together during the design work that allowed I-10 and Hance Park to become realities in the downtown Phoenix area more than 30 years ago,” said ADOT Director Jennifer Toth. “He was a key architect of the early Valley freeway program, and I’m sure he’d want to share this dedication with those who worked beside him.”

That sentiment was shared by a one-time colleague, retired ADOT Chief Deputy State Engineer Bob Mickelson. 

“You can’t overstate the work that Dean put into the Papago Freeway,” Mickelson said. “There were times he was working seven days a week. He was wonderful with people, which was important at a time when planning that section of I-10 was politically charged. He was the right man to lead the planning and design processes for the tunnel project, the I-17 Stack interchange and the I-10 connections with State Route 51.”

Published May 17, 2024