PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey this morning celebrated the upcoming opening of the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway in Phoenix, marking the culmination of the largest single freeway project in state history. The project finished three years early and with $100 million in savings through an innovative partnership.
“Arizona has solidified its reputation as a state that is open for opportunity, and as we welcome hundreds of new residents every day, we are making sure our infrastructure remains some of the best in America,” said Governor Ducey. “This Loop 202 opening represents a big step forward in connecting the East and West Valleys, as well as prioritizing safety for drivers. My thanks to the local, state, tribal, federal and private partners who helped bring this project to fruition ahead of schedule with major cost savings.”
The largest single freeway project in Arizona history, the South Mountain Freeway is the first freeway in Arizona built using a public-private partnership, or P3, that combines the design, construction and maintenance into a single contract. The unique approach allowed the freeway to open three years earlier than if it had been built using traditional bidding, with a cost savings of more than $100 million.
The freeway will connect Interstate 10 from the Loop 202 Santan Freeway in the East Valley to I-10 at 59th Avenue in the West Valley, providing a direct route for drivers to avoid travel through downtown Phoenix. It is projected to carry about 117,000 vehicles per day in its first year.
Loop 202 dates to 1983, when a highway along the south side of South Mountain—then dubbed the Southwest Loop Highway—was introduced. Since then, this transportation corridor has been approved by voters twice as part of the Maricopa Association of Governments’ Regional Transportation Plan through Proposition 300 in 1985 and Proposition 400 in 2004. After more than a decade of planning, coordination and study, construction of the 22-mile freeway began in 2016.
In recent action taken by the State Board on Geographic and Historic Names, the South Mountain Freeway received the honorary designation as the “Congressman Ed Pastor Freeway,” recognizing the late congressman’s contributions to transportation projects throughout the region.
For today’s celebration at the new bridges over the Salt River, Governor Ducey was joined by Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego; Governor Stephen Roe Lewis of the Gila River Indian Community; Arizona Department of Transportation Director John Halikowski; Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell, chairman of the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Council; Karla Petty, Arizona division administrator for the Federal Highway Administration; and Michael Bidwill, president of the Arizona Cardinals, as well as legislators, local officials, transportation stakeholders and more.
The Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway in Phoenix is scheduled to open to traffic by the end of the year.