I-17 101 traffic interchange

Crews set final bridge girder for Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway

Crews set final bridge girder for Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway

July 2, 2019

PHOENIX – After construction on 40 bridges over more than two years, workers have placed the final girder for the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway, the Arizona Department of Transportation’s single largest-ever freeway construction project.

Crews with Connect 202 Partners, the freeway developer, lowered the 91-foot, 77,000-pound girder into place recently at the interchange under construction at Desert Foothills Parkway in Ahwatukee. This work will be followed by pouring the concrete deck for the overpass later this month.

More than 1,000 girders, all of them manufactured locally, have been installed for the 22-mile freeway, which will connect with Interstate 10 at the Loop 202 Santan Freeway in Chandler and 59th Avenue in west Phoenix.

Along with the South Mountain Freeway interchange under construction at 17th Avenue, Desert Foothills Parkway will have a first diverging diamond configuration, in which local street traffic makes a temporary shift to the left side while crossing the freeway, allowing for direct left turns onto entrance ramps. In addition to enhancing safety, a diverging diamond interchange is designed to move traffic efficiently because there is no need for left-turn arrows.

Both interchanges will be partial diverging diamonds because neither Desert Foothills Parkway nor 17th Avenue continues to the south. A typical diverging diamond interchange accommodates local traffic approaching from both directions.

A full diverging diamond interchange is scheduled to open in summer 2020 at the Happy Valley Road and Interstate 17, and one is planned for Houghton Road at I-10 in the Tucson area.

The South Mountain Freeway is expected to open to traffic before the end of 2019, with work continuing into 2020. The largest freeway construction project in Arizona history, 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.

For information on the project, visit SouthMountainFreeway.com.