The Arizona Department of Transportation said it’s ramping up construction activity along the entire 22-mile stretch of the South Mountain Freeway this year, and plans to blast a path through South Mountain sometime this summer.
“Construction will expand as the Arizona Department of Transportation moves toward opening the freeway by late 2019,” ADOT said in a release last week.
Noting that the stretch along Pecos Road is about a third finished, the agency and builder Connect202Partners “have installed eight miles of drainage pipe, moved 3.6 million cubic yards of dirt and used 2,900 tons of rebar manufactured from recycled steel” across the entire path, the release said.
The freeway – Arizona’s most expensive highway project in history at a total cost of $1.7 billion – will connect I-10 interchanges at Chandler and West 59th Street, giving motorists a detour around the Horseshoe Curve and the heavily congested segment of the highway around downtown Phoenix.
ADOT said “the emerging I-10 interchange has changed the West Valley skyline,” noting that interchange will have six ramps.
Stating it will be “detouring traffic on Desert Foothills Parkway for bridge construction,” ADOT said it will be completing bridges at 17th Avenue and 40th Street and continuing bridge work at 24th and 32nd streets.
It also said it hopes to complete by mid-year the controlled blasting along Pecos Road between controlled rock blasting along Pecos Road between Desert Foothills Parkway and 24th Street to break large rock into smaller, more manageable pieces.
But around the same time that blasting is ending, ADOT likely will begin blasting along two ridges on the southwestern edge of Sount Mountain park.
The agency said crews will soon be in that area “conducting pre-construction work, including plant salvage and geotechnical investigations.”
The agency also is continuing work on some 40 bridges that will be part of the freeway or cross over it.
This year, the agency said, crews hope to complete a bridge over Roosevelt Street, an Elliot Road bridge over the freeway, a bridge at Baseline Road and 51st Avenue and two half-mile-long bridges over the Salt River.