South Mountain Freeway, also known as Loop 22 Freeway, is the 22-mile-long final section to conclude the Loop 202 and Loop 101 system in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, US.

The toll-free road is the single largest highway project undertaken by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).

The Loop 202 system is a combination of three freeways, Red Mountain, Santan and South Mountain freeway.

Project background

The South Mountain freeway has been a part of the voter-approved Regional Transportation Plan since 1985.

Approval for construction of the freeway was passed by Maricopa County voters under the Regional Transportation Plan.

It faced opposition from environment protection groups, including Phoenix Mountain Preservation Council, which argued construction in the area would lead to the destruction of the South Mountain Park. The groups also argued on the impact on the wildlife and mountains.

Despite the opposition, the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) granted final approval for the construction of the freeway in March 2015.

Route of South Mountain Freeway

The South Mountain freeway will extend from east to west along Pecos Road and will head northwards between 55th and 63rd Avenue. It will be connected with Interstate 10 at both ends. Approximately one mile of the road will run through the South Mountain park/preserve.

The freeway will comprise three general-purpose lanes and one high-occupancy vehicle lane. Interchanges will be provided at an approximate interval of one mile.

South Mountain Freeway construction

Pre-construction activities, including geotechnical and utility work, property acquisition and structure removal are currently underway.

Construction on the freeway is expected to start in mid-2016 and the road is scheduled to open for commuters between 2019 and 2020.

The freeway will be constructed using rubberised asphalt and high-standard aesthetics. It will involve the construction of 40 bridges, five multi-use overpasses and 13 interchanges.

Contractors involved

The Arizona Department of Transportation selected Connect 202 Partners, a joint venture team led by Flour, for designing, building and maintaining the highway in February 2016.

Members of Connect 202 include Flour Enterprises, Granite Construction, Ames Construction, Parsons Brinckerhoff and DBi Services.

Parsons Brinckerhoff will be the lead engineer for the project, while Fluor and DBi services will be responsible for the highway maintenance for 30 years.

AZTEC Engineering Group, Stanley Consultants, Keinfelder and AMEC will collaborate with other members of Connect 202 to design the highway.

Funding for the South Mountain Freeway project

The required investment will be sourced through state, federal and voter-approved regional transportation funds.