FAQ - Loop 202 (South Mountain Freeway)

Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway

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Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQ below provides general information related to the Loop 202 (South Mountain Freeway). For more detailed information, please refer to the Record of Decision or the Environmental Impact Statement documents. The Record of Decision also includes a more detailed FAQ section in Volume 1, section 9, Public Outreach and Comments Received on the Final EIS and Errata, and Record of Decision, Volume II, beginning on page A371.

Construction and Schedule

When did construction begin and what activities will occur?

Major construction activities in the I-10, Salt River and Pecos segments began in January 2017. Maps and schedules of the early-to mid 2017 activities are available on the Construction Info page.

Will construction occur at night or on weekends?

Most construction will occur on weekdays, although some construction activities will require work every day and at night to complete the freeway by late 2019.

How will construction noise be reduced?

There are two primary sources of noise during major construction activities: equipment engine noise and back-up alarms. The construction team understands these alarms are disruptive to the adjacent residents. Because back-up alarms have proven to reduce the number of construction fatalities, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires the alarms to be used and to be audible above the surrounding construction noise.

How will dust be controlled?

Dust control is a priority for the construction team. Keeping the soil moist during ground-disturbing activities is the most effective means for preventing dust. Water spraying and soil stabilization materials will be used in all construction areas. Water will be sprayed on the dirt before, during and after the construction activity. Track out devices will be used at the construction site entrances and exits to reduce the amount of dirt vehicles track out onto adjacent streets. When possible, the number of vehicles in the construction area will be minimized.

What water sources will be used for dust control?

Connect 202 Partners is using a combination of City of Phoenix water, provided through metered fire hydrants, as well as SRP irrigation and pre-approved private wells.

How will construction water be stored?

The Pecos Segment of the South Mountain Freeway Loop 202 will have a series of four construction ponds between 40th Street and 32nd Lane. The ponds are there to move and temporarily store water, as well as to deter mosquitoes during freeway construction. The ponds will be:

  • Approximately 100’ long x 40’ wide and up to 9’ deep
  • Connected by 4” to 6” pipe running at-grade near the right-of-way
  • Accompanied by Klein water tanks
  • Surrounded by 6’ fencing
  • Ponds will remain for the duration of the project
  • Water from the ponds is used for dust mitigation
  • Ponds are also used to prevent the need to haul water back and forth to the project site, which would add more construction traffic to local streets
  • During construction, water from the ponds is continually being pumped into the pond and pumped out into water trucks

Where can I find a construction schedule?

A construction schedule is available on the Construction Info page. ADOT encourages community members to visit the Follow Us page and sign up for project and construction alerts and updates, which are sent via email and/or text message.

Traffic Restrictions During Construction

How do I get information about construction activities and alternate routes?

ADOT sends weekly emails and text message alerts regarding construction activities, restrictions and closures. ADOT encourages individuals who live or travel near the future freeway to sign up for project alerts on the Follow Us page.

Will I be able to drive on Pecos Road?

On April 3, traffic on Pecos Road between 40th and 24th streets was shifted to an interim roadway consisting of two lanes of traffic in each direction separated by a double yellow line. The speed limit has also been reduced to 40 mph The traffic shift requires an adjustment by motorists, who have a responsibility to drive the reduced speed limit, share the road and drive with caution. Pecos Road is an active construction zone and will be until the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway is complete.

Can cyclists use Pecos Road during construction?

ADOT and Connect 202 Partners remind the cycling community that Pecos Road is surrounded by construction activities. Cyclists and other recreational users are encouraged to find alternate routes or use the general purpose lanes in a “share the road” manner.

With the Pecos Road shift, there are no shoulders, and the speed limit is 40 mph.

Will the interim Pecos Road have a concrete barrier between traffic lanes?

The interim Pecos Road consists of two lanes of traffic in each direction separated by a double yellow line. The speed limit has been reduced to 40 mph. This is a standard design for local streets with traffic speeds 45 mph or lower. Adding a center concrete barrier would require an additional 6 feet of right-of-way or a reduction in the number of lanes. Due to this need for additional right-of-way and emergency access concerns, a center concrete barrier will not be used.

To enhance visibility on the interim road, raised pavement markers are located every 40 feet along the centerline, concrete barrier reflectors every 20 feet along the shoulders and lane separator posts as needed to guide traffic.

Will I be able to drive on 59th Avenue?

As with many of the major roadways adjacent to and part of the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway, intermittent street and lane closures will be required for the safety of the community. Any closures will have adequate detours with clear signage. Advance notification of all planned traffic restrictions will be posted on ADOT’s traffic website (www.az511.gov) and also be distributed via email and text. The public is encouraged to visit the Follow Us page to and sign up to receive construction and traffic alerts, and project updates.

Will construction affect my bus route?

Both city bus routes and school bus routes will be affected during the construction phase of the project. Connect 202 Partners has and will continue to work with local municipalities and affected school districts to minimize impacts on public transportation and to inform stakeholders of planned changes.

How will construction affect local traffic in Ahwatukee?

The City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department will be conducting a traffic study to evaluate the potential impacts of construction on local traffic and residential neighborhoods between Pecos Road and Chandler Boulevard from 17th Avenue to I-10. Additional focus will be placed on the intersections at 40th Street and Cottonwood Lane, 17th Avenue and Chandler Boulevard, and Liberty Lane at 24th Street and 32nd Street to understand the possible anticipated traffic patterns due to the change of Pecos Road to a State highway.

Based on a simulation model, the study will provide details on existing and future traffic patterns in the area with South Mountain Freeway and provide alternative solutions to mitigate traffic/traffic patterns. The study is expected to take approximately 60 to 90 days. The Street Transportation Department will evaluate all outcomes from the study and look to implement needed changes.

Preliminary Engineering/Construction Activities

What has ADOT done to prepare for construction?

Since receiving final federal clearance to move forward with the project in spring 2015, ADOT selected Connect 202 Partners, prepared for construction by addressing cultural resources in the right of way, acquiring and preparing properties, testing soil conditions and relocating utilities.

What is the status of property and right of way acquisition?

ADOT has acquired and removed all residential properties within the right-of-way of the future freeway. Currently, ADOT and the developer are acquiring and removing commercial properties in the Salt River and I-10 segments. 

What cultural resource activities have occurred? 

Cultural resources, or physical evidence or places of past human activity, generally include archaeological sites, historic buildings and structures, artifacts and objects, and places of traditional, religious, and cultural significance. Historic property refers to cultural resources that are listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

As part of the environmental commitments made in the Record of Decision, ADOT is currently undergoing various field investigations on ADOT-owned properties along the future South Mountain Freeway corridor. Sixteen ADOT-owned sites were identified as potentially cultural or historically significant during the study phase of the South Mountain Freeway. ADOT is currently in the second phase of mitigation which focuses on data recovery along the future path of the freeway.

By law, some of this work must remain confidential while it’s happening. Areas may be monitored and fenced off for safety reasons to prevent looting, theft, damage or trespassing. 

What happens if artifacts are discovered?

Once ADOT completes its field work at a particular site, if there are any significant findings, ADOT consults with state and Tribal historic preservation officers, Native American Tribes, representatives of local governments, and state/federal agencies, landowners, or land managers to determine the next course of action, which could include excavation.

Work at prehistoric and historic sites may include thorough documentation or excavation and extraction, analysis and preservation of artifacts, which can include sending the identified artifacts to an accredited repository, such as the Arizona State Museum, Museum of Northern Arizona, Pueblo Grande Museum or Huhugam Heritage Center.

When the work is completed, this important Information on the history of the region and all the artifacts will be housed and preserved at the Huhugam Heritage Center. In addition, information collected will be preserved in research reports stored in libraries that future generations will be able to learn about. 


What is the current status of the project and what are the next steps?

Major construction activities in the I-10, Salt River and Pecos segments began in January 2017. Maps and schedules of the early-to mid 2017 activities are available on the Construction Info page. 

How can I be notified of project updates?

ADOT will keep the public up-to-date throughout construction of the freeway. Information is available on the project website; be sure to sign up for weekly email and text message alerts (sign up through the Follow Us page).

When will the freeway be built?

Construction of the freeway began in September 2016, and the freeway will be open to traffic in late 2019. Work will not begin in the Center Segment until mid-2018. 

How will the freeway be built?

To expedite completion of this project, the corridor has been broken into four construction segments: 

  • I-10 Segment: I-10 Papago Freeway south to Lower Buckeye Road; I-10 between 75th and 43rd avenues
  • Salt River Segment: Lower Buckeye Road south to 51st Avenue
  • Center Segment: 51st Avenue southeast to 32nd Lane
  • Pecos Segment: 32nd Lane east to I-10 Maricopa Freeway

Construction of the I-10, Salt River and Pecos segments will occur simultaneously, with construction of the Center Segment beginning in mid-2018. As areas of the freeway are completed, new freeway lanes may be used for local detours, but the freeway will not be fully open and provide east-west access until construction is completed in late 2019.

How will the freeway be funded and built? 

The freeway is funded by state, federal, and local dollars; the freeway will not be tolled. The final design, construction and the 30-year maintenance of the freeway will occur through an innovative public-private partnership (P3) agreement with Connect 202 Partners (C202P) that will expedite construction while reducing the overall project cost. 

What is a Public Private Partnership and how does it benefit taxpayers?

A public private partnership, often simply called a P3, refers to the contractual agreement between a public agency and a private sector entity to have greater participation in the delivery of a transportation project. By securing a P3, the entire South Mountain Freeway project can be constructed as one project rather than nine, as originally scheduled, which will accelerate project delivery by at least three years.

For additional information on the public-private partnership process please visit the P3 Initiatives page.

Who is Connect 202 Partners?

Connect 202 Partners (C202P) is the developer who will design, build and maintain the freeway for 30 years after completion of construction. The team consists of Fluor Enterprises Inc., Granite Construction Co. and Ames Construction Inc., with Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. as the lead designer. 

What if I own property near the freeway?

ADOT has contacted property owners whose properties need to be acquired, as their properties are within the freeway right of way. ADOT's property acquisition program includes working as early as possible with property owners and providing benefits to the extent allowed by law to cover actual, reasonable moving costs and related expenses. ADOT is required to pay fair market value for businesses and residential properties and provide relocation assistance. Per state statute (ARS 28-7092) ADOT can only acquire property that is required for transportation purposes. 

What has changed about the project since the environmental process and why?

Since the P3 method encourages innovation and optimization of efficiencies, the current freeway design incorporates some changes from the early design concepts that minimize the right of way impacts while increasing safety and reducing traffic restrictions during construction. Innovation and efficiency examples throughout the freeway corridor include:

  • Half diverging diamond interchanges at Desert Foothills Parkway and 17th Avenue
  • Modifying interchanges to improve traffic operations and minimize right of way requirements
  • Double roundabout configuration at Estrella Drive
  • Shared-use path along Pecos Segment
  • Pedestrian bridge in Salt River Segment

An updated flyover video was released in March 2017 and is available to view on the Resources page.


Where will the freeway be located?

The South Mountain Freeway will connect to Interstate 10 (Papago Freeway) at 59th Avenue and go south along 59th Avenue to Elliot Road where the freeway alignment turns southeast to the current Pecos Road alignment and connects to Interstate 10 (Maricopa Freeway) and the Loop 202 (Santan Freeway) on the east end.

Where will traffic interchanges be located?  

Fifteen traffic interchanges will be located at the following major street crossings:

  • Van Buren Street
  • Buckeye Road
  • Lower Buckeye Road
  • Broadway Road
  • Southern Avenue
  • Baseline Road
  • Dobbins Road
  • Elliot Road
  • Estrella Drive
  • Ivanhoe Street
  • 17th Avenue
  • Desert Foothills Parkway
  • 24th Street
  • 32nd Street
  • 40th Street

How were traffic interchange locations determined? 

Interchange locations were determined during the environmental phase of the project, based on traffic modeling and regional mobility needs. During this process, the Arizona Department of Transportation coordinated with the City of Phoenix and a Citizens Advisory Team (CAT) to confirm interchange locations.

What major features can I expect as part of the freeway? 

As the largest freeway construction project in state history, ADOT encouraged Connect 202 Partners to include innovative approaches during the design and construction of the freeway. In addition to the standard ADOT features, such as high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes and rubberized asphalt, the freeway will include:

  • Rolling profile, meaning the freeway is elevated, at-grade, or partially depressed throughout the corridor
  • 15 interchanges
  • Two half diverging diamond interchanges (DDI)
  • One double-roundabout interchange
  • 40 bridges
  • Six-mile, 20-foot wide shared-use path in the Pecos Segment
  • Five multi-use underpass crossings in the Center Segment
  • Pedestrian bridge in the Salt River Segment
  • 4.5 miles of widening improvements to I-10 between 75th and 43rd avenues.

What is a shared use path and where will it be located?

A shared-use path is a physically separated path adjacent to any transportation facility, and will accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, and other forms of non-vehicular traffic. The 20-foot wide non all-weather shared-use path will be constructed between 40th Street and 17th Avenue directly south of the freeway in the Pecos Segment. While Connect 202 Partners will be responsible for the design and construction of the shared-use path, the City of Phoenix will be responsible for maintaining the path. Additionally, the shared-use path will provide connectivity complementing the City of Phoenix Comprehensive Bicycle Master Plan.

What is a half diverging diamond interchange?

A Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) is based on a standard diamond interchange common in Arizona, but with one major difference —traffic shifts briefly on the left hand side of the road between highway ramps, allowing left turns without crossing oncoming traffic. The freeway will feature two half-DDIs in the Pecos Segment, as there are no connection points to the south.

Features of a DDI:

  • Innovative, proven solution for increased safety and mobility
  • Able to move increased traffic more quickly and safely than traditional intersections
  • Minimizes right of way footprint over some other types of interchanges

What is a double roundabout interchange? 

A double roundabout interchange resembles the shape of a dog bone from an aerial view. This type of interchange will be constructed at Estrella Drive.

Features of a double roundabout interchange:

  • Reduces conflicts between vehicles
  • Minimizes right of way impacts
  • Improves efficiency
  • Provides a safer design by eliminating the potential for perpendicular collisions

Will there be noise walls?

ADOT’s policy is to reduce the impact of freeway noise on adjacent homes, schools and churches by building sound walls and berms. Based on the noise modeling included in the Environmental Impact Statement, building sound walls ranging in heights from 16 to 20 feet adjacent to the residential communities will minimize the noise impacts of the freeway traffic and meet ADOT’s threshold of 64 decibels which is lower than the federal regulations (67 decibels). As a comparison, conversational speech is typically measured at 60 decibels.

What else will be done to mitigate noise?

Rubberized asphalt will be used on the South Mountain Freeway as an additional technique to reduce noise. This material has been used for more than 20 years to resurface highways and city streets in Arizona and consists of regular asphalt paving mixed with recycled tires. In addition to reducing the number of used tires in landfills, rubberized asphalt is smoother and quieter, and generally reduces tire noise by an average of four decibels.

Will there be landscaping and art?

Throughout the freeway corridor, landscaping and aesthetic treatments will be reflective of the neighboring communities. These treatments were inspired by the late architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, and developed in coordination with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation as well as the Cosanti Foundation. Aesthetic renderings of the freeway artwork can be found on the Resources page. 

What is the elevation of the freeway?

Similar to other Valley freeways, the South Mountain Freeway will have a rolling profile, meaning the freeway will be elevated, at-grade, or partially depressed throughout the corridor. This profile helps minimize right of way and construction impacts on the adjacent neighborhoods.

Will the freeway be built wide enough so it doesn’t have to be torn up and rebuilt in a few years?

The South Mountain Freeway will be constructed as an eight-lane freeway (three general purpose lanes and one HOV lane in each direction). There are no current plans to widen the freeway in the future.

Will stormwater runoff be controlled and where will the water go?

Stormwater will be controlled per the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). A SWPPP is a combination of documents, plans, checklist and permits required by and reviewed by the EPA for ADOT construction projects. Per the SWPPP, whenever possible, runoff is allowed to follow its natural courses and collect in retention basins which will be located throughout the freeway corridor.

Will there be access to the Gila River Indian Community from the traffic interchanges along the Pecos and Center Segment?

Federal law requires providing access to the freeway from the Gila River Indian Community. The 40th Street and Estrella Drive interchanges will provide the Gila River Indian Community access to the freeway. The Gila River Indian Community will be responsible for connecting to the traffic interchanges, in coordination with appropriate jurisdictions.

Will the freeway be built through South Mountain Park/Preserve?

Federal restrictions prohibit intrusion of a federal project such as the South Mountain Freeway into a park like South Mountain Park/Preserve, unless it can be shown that there is no feasible and prudent alternative to avoid such an intrusion. As documented in the Final Environmental Impact Statement, no feasible and prudent alternative(s) could be identified to avoid impacts on the park. Approximately one mile of the freeway will pass through the southwestern edge of the park. The amount of land in the park that will be affected by the freeway is 31.3 acres, which is less than 0.2 percent of the entire park.

Will local wells and lakes be affected?

The freeway will not directly impact the wells or pumps in the Lakewood Community. The pipes that deliver the water from the wells to the lakes will be placed in steel sleeves so they can remain under the freeway.

ADOT and the developer have been in close coordination with the Foothills Community Association regarding their community well, which is within the freeway right of way. The developer team has designed the 24th street exit ramp to avoid the Foothills well. Please view the visual simulation on the Resources page for the latest design. 

Planning and Environmental Study

How was it decideed to build this freeway?

The Loop 202 (South Mountain Freeway) has been a critical part of the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Regional Freeway Program since it was first included in funding approved by Maricopa County voters in 1985. The freeway was also part of the Regional Transportation Plan funding passed by Maricopa County voters in 2004 through Proposition 400. The freeway is a key component of the region’s adopted multimodal transportation plan and the Regional Freeway and Highway System and is the last piece to complete the Loop 202. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a Record of Decision (the final decision-making document for the project) selecting a build alternative on March 5, 2015.

How was the route for the freeway decided?

The route for the freeway was determined through a multidisciplinary process to identify a range of reasonable alternatives that were studied in detail in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The study process involved identifying, comparatively screening, and eliminating alternatives based on:

  • input from the public
  • a comparison of alignment alternatives
  • surrounding communities, resources, and other factors
  • the historical context of the freeway
  • projected regional traffic conditions with and without a freeway

The final decision on the route for the freeway was determined by ADOT, Federal Highway Administration and Maricopa Association of Governments, the regional transportation authority for the region. As a corridor that is part of a comprehensive regional plan developed by MAG, ADOT serves as the agency responsible for implementation of the plan, with FHWA providing the federal oversight required to access federal funds. FHWA is the lead federal agency responsible for implementing the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the governing federal law, and was responsible for the ultimate decision in selecting a route for the freeway.

How was public input from the environmental study used?

Public input was a vital component during the environmental study phase and was solicited from project inception  through key milestones in the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) processes. The interests and needs of the public, along with all other social, economic and environmental issues and impacts, were fully analyzed during the study phase of the project. More information about the entire public involvement process up to publication of the Final EIS is available in Chapter 6, Comments and Coordination, of the Final EIS.

Why not consider light rail or other transit instead of a freeway?

The study did consider a variety of transportation alternatives, modes, and strategies that would fit into the Regional Transportation Plan, including transit. The freeway option was determined to best meet the purpose and need for the project, following an extensive screening process which included evaluation of additional benefits such as system linkage, regional mobility, and consistency with regional and local long-range plans.

Why isn't the freeway on Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) land?

While efforts to study alternatives on Community land were attempted, the Community has long held a position of not allowing the freeway to be located on its land. For example, a coordinated referendum of Community members to favor or oppose construction of the freeway on Community land or to support a no-build option occurred in February 2012, and Community members voted in favor of the no‑build option. Therefore, the freeway cannot be located on Community land.

What impact with the freeway have on air quality?

Air quality impacts were estimated through sophisticated computer modeling based on predictions of the amount and nature of traffic under worst-case scenarios. The emissions models are based on extensive emissions testing that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has conducted on thousands of vehicles representative of the ages and models of the vehicle fleet on the roads today.

The carbon monoxide and particulate matter (PM10) analyses demonstrated that the freeway will not contribute to any new localized violations, increase the frequency or severity of any existing violation, or delay timely attainment of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards or any required interim emissions reductions or other milestones.

Since ozone is a regional pollutant, there is no requirement to analyze potential impacts and no possibility of localized violations of ozone to occur at the project level. The Maricopa Association of Governments is responsible for developing plans to reduce emissions of ozone precursors in the Maricopa area. The South Mountain Freeway is included in the Regional Transportation Plan that has been determined by the U.S. Department of Transportation to conform to the State Implementation Plan on February 12, 2014.

The emission modeling developed for the  freeway showed that for the mobile source air toxics study area, there would be little difference in total annual emissions of mobile source air toxics emissions (less than a 1 percent difference) in 2025 and 2035. In addition, beginning in 2017, the new EPA Tier 3 vehicle and fuel standards will reduce tailpipe and evaporative emissions and reduce mobile source air toxics.

The Record of Decision discusses the air quality analyses in greater detail.


How many vehicles will use the freeway?

Chapter 3 of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) states traffic projections estimate approximately 117,000 to 190,000 vehicles daily would use the South Mountain Freeway in 2035.

Will the new freeway generate new truck traffic?

Factors considered in the environmental study were the amount of truck traffic that would use the freeway and its potential impact on the surrounding community. The MAG regional travel demand model forecasts approximately 10 percent truck traffic on the South Mountain Freeway in 2035. The forecasted truck traffic is based on existing traffic studies and projected socioeconomic data. This percentage is similar to current traffic conditions on I-10 between Loop 101 and I-17 and on US 60.

Will this freeway serve as a truck bypass to relieve congestion from Downtown Phoenix?

The primary purpose of the South Mountain Freeway is not to create a "truck bypass" for downtown Phoenix. The freeway is part of a transportation system developed to improve mobility in the region by increasing capacity and providing traffic alternatives—including truck traffic—to other, already congested routes. As with all other freeways in the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) region, trucks will use the South Mountain Freeway for the through transport of freight, for transport to and from distribution centers, and for transport to support local commerce. It is anticipated that “true” through truck traffic (not having to stop in the Phoenix metropolitan area) would continue to use the faster, designated, and posted bypass system of Interstate 8 and State Route 85. Also, like other “loop” freeways in the Phoenix metropolitan area, the South Mountain Freeway would be a commuter corridor, primarily serving automobiles and helping to move local traffic between the eastern and western portions of Maricopa County.

Will trucks carrying hazardous cargo be allowed to use the highway?

Arizona highways, like most highways across the United States, are open to all kinds of traffic, so long as the cargo being carried is in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations for the specific type of cargo. The Arizona Department of Transportation has a few locations in the state with hazardous cargo restrictions, but these restrictions are based on emergency response issues or roadway design limitations specific to that location. For example, the Interstate 10 Deck Park Tunnel has certain hazardous cargo transport restrictions because of the limited ability for emergency responders to address a hazardous materials incident in the tunnel. The South Mountain Freeway will operate under the same rules as other similar facilities in the state; transport of hazardous cargo will be permissible.

How will international trucks be monitored?

Ports of entry monitor all commercial traffic entering Arizona for registration, taxes, size and weight restrictions, commercial driver license requirements, insurance requirements and equipment safety requirements, and issue permits as required.

Will the freeway be tolled?

No, this freeway will not be tolled and is funded by state, federal, and local dollars. 

How many workers will be on the job?

Approximately 1,400 craft workers will be on the project during peak construction. C202P will hire approximately 500 employees and an additional 900 people will be hired through subcontractors. 

How do I apply for a job on the project?

To apply for a C202P job, individuals should contact the appropriate local union: 

Operating Engineers, Local 428 
6601 N. Black Canyon Highway 
Phoenix, AZ 85105 

Laborers, Local 383 
512 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003 

Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, Local 1912 
4547 W. McDowell Rd. 
Phoenix, AZ 85035