Crews are set to begin initial work on the 3-mile stretch at the center of the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway that will provide a direct link between the West Valley and East Valley.
Crews have already started creating right-of-way fencing and surveying to identify and tag trees and cactuses in the path of construction that are good candidates for salvage. Over the next few months, hundreds of plants that eventually will be replanted along the freeway will be removed and placed in a temporary nursery.
Beginning this week, crews with heavy equipment will start assessing the condition of soil and rock as well as the depth of groundwater along the freeway alignment. These geotechnical investigations, which occur on every freeway expansion project, allow engineers to plan for pavement, bridges, walls and drainage structures.
This work, which will require building temporary access roads, is scheduled to continue for several months.
Starting as early as May, controlled rock blasting will begin along two ridges on the southwestern edge of the South Mountain Park to break large rock into smaller, more manageable pieces as crews create a path for the freeway.
Periodic traffic restrictions are anticipated on 51st Avenue, Dusty Lane and Ivanhoe Street during Center segment construction.
The largest single highway project in Arizona history, the South Mountain Freeway has been divided into four construction segments:
I-10 Papago: between the I-10 Papago Freeway interchange at 59th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road
Salt River: from Lower Buckeye Road to 51st Avenue near Estrella Drive
Center: from 51st Avenue to 32nd Lane
Pecos: between 32nd Lane to the I-10/Loop 202 Santan Freeway interchange along Pecos Road
The South Mountain Freeway will provide a long-planned direct link between the East Valley and West Valley and a much-needed alternative to I-10 through downtown Phoenix. Approved by Maricopa County voters in 1985 and again in 2004 as part of a comprehensive regional transportation plan, the South Mountain Freeway will complete the Loop 202 and Loop 101 freeway system in the Valley.
You can learn more about the South Mountain Freeway project and sign up for updates and weekly traffic alerts by visiting SouthMountainFreeway.com.
Schedules are subject to change based on weather and other unforeseen factors. For more information, please call the ADOT Project Information Line at 855.712.8530 or email Projects@azdot.gov. For real-time highway conditions statewide, visit ADOT's Traveler Information Site at www.az511.gov, follow ADOT on Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) or call 511, except when driving.