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Crews start building sound walls along South Mountain Freeway in Phoenix

(Photo: ADOT)

PHOENIX — Construction has begun on a series of walls along the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway that will reduce noise to nearby neighborhoods, the Arizona Department of Transportation announced Wednesday.

Crews started building sound walls between 40th and 48th streets in Ahwatukee and near the Interstate 10 interchange at 59th Avenue in Phoenix.

The walls will line one or both sides of the freeway and will cover a 11-mile stretch of the anticipated 22-mile-long highway, which is expected to open in 2019. It will connect the east and west sides of the Valley.

Sound walls are designed to limit the intensity of traffic noise to nearby neighborhoods and are the “most common type of noise-reducing barrier” used along Valley freeways.

Related: The dirty work of building the new South Mountain Freeway

The sound walls will stand between 16 and 20 feet in height. Extensive studies were conducted to determine where the walls were needed, the department said.

The sound walls will also incorporate different designs in an effort to complement its surroundings, help tell an area’s story and create a more “appealing environment” for drivers.

This is not the first design element created for the South Mountain Freeway: Crews constructed a series of Stonehenge-like structures to place along the freeway back in March.

In a statement, Rob Samour, the department’s senior deputy state engineer, said the sound walls will block “the path that sound waves travel from the traffic toward a residential area.”

“Combined with our use of rubberized asphalt pavement, we’ll be able to limit traffic noise throughout the entire corridor, similar to other Valley freeways,” he added.

The first phase of construction on the roadway began in 2016. It is expected to be finished by 2019, three years earlier than was originally planned.

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