In 2002 – 2003, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and Central Arizona Association of Governments (CAAG) conducted the Southeast Maricopa/Northern Pinal County Area Transportation Study (SEMNPTS). The purpose of the study was to document the transportation relationships between Maricopa and Pinal Counties, examine the long-range transportation needs of the study area and identify projects to address the area needs. The project concluded with recommendations for further study on four potential corridors: US 60 Corridor, Williams Gateway Corridor, East Valley Corridor and the Apache Junction/Coolidge Corridor (now known as North-South Corridor).
Following that, legislation was passed requesting planning studies be done to further define each of the four corridors. The Pinal County Corridors Definition Study, completed in 2006, combined the East Valley and Apache Junction/Coolidge Corridors. Following the legislation’s requirements, the study looked to further define corridors identified by the SEMNPTS for right of way preservation, and to provide the State Transportation Board with information needed to consider the identified corridors as state highways in the state highway system. The study was not intended to determine the exact alignment or design for any road.
The study is in the alternative selection phase, which means the North-South Corridor team will be looking at a range of possible route alternatives. The team is also looking at what it would mean to not make any improvements (also known as a no-build option).
The study team started with a 900-square-mile study area, which was refined to the
300-square-mile Corridor Opportunity Area that was presented at the fall 2010 public and agency scoping meetings. After receiving input from the public and various agencies, the team has reduced it even further.
To help the study team evaluate the possible route alternatives, the corridor has been divided into multiple corridor segments. This allows the team to understand the unique opportunities and challenges within each segment and whether a route alternative could be placed there.
The team is collecting and studying technical information for each segment, including existing and future developments, drainage, soil structure, utilities, travel demand, population growth and the economic development of each community. In addition to the technical information and input from local agencies and communities about their preferences, the team is using the study Purpose and Need Statement as a guide to develop potential route alternatives.