ARIZONA NEWS

Virtual tour to preview Phoenix-area Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway

Mar 17, 2017, 5:32 AM | Updated: 11:24 am

PHOENIX — The Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway won’t be completed until 2019, but Arizonans can get a sneak peek as to what the 22-mile highway will look like, thanks to a new virtual tour.

The six-minute-long video from Arizona Department of Transportation showcases design changes made before January, including “aesthetic and landscaping treatments reflecting neighboring communities,” the HOV lane near 59th Avenue, a six-mile shared-used path in Ahwatukee and a pedestrian bridge in Phoenix.

Some of the aesthetic treatments could include Stonehenge-like structures, including concrete columns and walls, that will be placed along the freeway.

The website southmountainfreeway.com also features renderings of what officials believe the future project will look like. The flyover video was originally developed in 2013 by ADOT and the Federal Highway Administration.

The South Mountain Freeway is set to be an extension of the Loop 202 and will run 22 miles to connect the East Valley to the West Valley by the I-10. It will also widen the I-10 between 43rd and 75th avenues to add merge lanes in each direction and access roads between 51st to 67th avenues.

The freeway is scheduled to open in late 2019 and has been in various stages of development since December 2016, when officials first began pouring concrete. The project was first approved by Maricopa County voters in 1985 — and again in 2004 — as part of a comprehensive regional transportation plan.

In January, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an attempt made by the the Gila River Indian Community to stop construction of the freeway, the fifth of its kind.

The Pecos Road entrance at the park-and-ride at 40th Street and Pecos was closed in January to make way for the expansion and various sections of Phoenix-area roadways and freeways have been shut down over the past couple of months in order to prepare for construction.

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Virtual tour to preview Phoenix-area Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway