Yep, I traveled I-8 fairly often some years back, it was pretty desolate then but I imagine it’s more populated now. Like you say, it’s a major hiway now and was many years ago.
I traveled I-8 from Maricopa to Yuma last month, but not the portion between Gila Bend and Casa Grande. Casa Grande is a growing community, as is Maricopa.
I cannot understand why I haven’t heard anything about this from Corporate Media or local talk radio. I think this stretch of I-8 comes under Sharif Joe’s watch, but not sure what his jurisdiction/mandate is with regard to this situation.