South Mountain Freeway award would benefit Gila River Indian Community students

$10,000 award would fund scholarships for Community members

PHOENIX – If the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway wins a national transportation award, the $10,000 prize will be used to fund scholarships for 10 members of the Gila River Indian Community.

And Arizona residents can have a hand in making that happen.

ADOT Director John Halikowski praised the “increasingly positive and cooperative partnership” between ADOT and the Gila River Indian Community in announcing that ADOT would provide 10 scholarships of $1,000 each for students to use at a college, university or trade school if the South Mountain Freeway wins the national award.

“I can think of no better cause and use of this money than supporting educational opportunities for Community members,” Halikowski said. 

The $2 billion South Mountain Freeway, which abuts the Gila River Indian Community boundary, is the largest project ever managed by ADOT. The freeway is one of the finalists in the national America’s Transportation Awards competition. It was selected as the first-place winner for innovation and use of technology in the West region of the America’s Transportation Awards judging. 

The project is now among the 12 finalists competing for two separate awards -- the Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award. Both awards come with a $10,000 prize for a charity or scholarship of the winner’s choosing. 

Anyone can vote for the South Mountain Freeway for the People’s Choice Award. Votes can be cast online through Oct. 25. Voting is permitted once every 24 hours.

An independent panel of transportation industry experts will select the Grand Prize winner. Winners in both categories will be announced in November.

Check out information about other finalists and America’s Transportation Awards, sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by visiting the Awards webpage

Two other ADOT projects won top honors last month in regional competitions for America’s Transportation Awards, which included 79 projects nominated by 36 departments of transportation across the country. The I-10/SR 87 Interchange Reconstruction including the I-10 Dust Detection System near Eloy won first place for Operations Excellence, Medium Project. The SR 347 Overpass at Union Pacific Railroad in Maricopa took first place for Quality of Life/Community Development.