PHOENIX – What has more than 150 saguaros among 2,500 desert plants spread over 125 acres of Goodyear? No, it’s not a botanical garden. It’s the interchange connecting Interstate 10 and Loop 303, where the Arizona Department of Transportation has completed landscaping work.
Specifically, ADOT has finished a $3.8 million project to landscape the south half of the I-10/Loop 303 interchange.
In addition to providing freeway-to-freeway connections saving valuable travel time for commuters, the interchange serves as a gateway to Goodyear and other West Valley cities.
As part of the landscaping, crews have spread more than 600,000 square yards of gold-highlighted decorative rock throughout the south half of the interchange. The crushed granite used in freeway landscaping not only provides decorative ground cover, it also is in place to limit dust and erosion.
The landscaping was designed to complement other artistic features at the interchange, including triangular graphics that represent area mountain ranges.
Dozens of saguaros, iconic symbols of Arizona, are part of the scenic view for drivers using I-10 and other parts of the interchange. Organ pipe and toothpick are among the accent varieties of cactuses.
In addition to cactuses, ADOT freeway landscaping projects incorporate other plants that use less water. The landscaping at the I-10/Loop 303 interchange includes 10 types of trees, including desert willows, ironwoods and mesquites, along with 15 types of shrubs such as Arizona yellow bells and compact jojoba.
Because the north half of the interchange, along I-10 west of Estrella Parkway, opened to traffic and was landscaped two years sooner than the south half, two project teams took special care to make sure all of the landscaping has a consistent look.
Freeway landscaping projects are funded as part of the Maricopa Association of Governments’ 20-year Regional Transportation Plan approved by Maricopa County voters in 2004.