The walls of the first South Mountain Freeway bridge in Laveen will carry a distinct decorative exterior to reflect that region’s history.
Arizona Department of Transportation

The Arizona Department of Transportation is preparing to mark another milestone in the construction of the South Mountain Freeway.

The first interchange under construction in Laveen is scheduled to open in March.

Elliot Road at 59th Avenue has been closed to allow crews “to make significant progress in a short time,” ADOT said in a release.

The 22-mile, eight-lane freeway, which at a cost of $1.7 billion is Arizona’s most expensive highway project in history, will connect the I-10 interchanges at West 59th Avenue in West Phoenix and Chandler.

In Laveen, ADOT said, crews completed “extensive earthwork” and then planted six large concrete piers in the future freeway’s median. More than 300,000 cubic yards of dirt have been moved to create bridge approaches and ramps.

The piers will support a 272-foot, two-span bridge that will carry Elliot Road traffic over the South Mountain Freeway. Later this month, 26 concrete girders will be set on the piers to form the bridge.

It will be the first South Mountain Freeway bridge to be used by motorists.

Some 40 bridges wlll be built along the freeway by the time the project is completed in late 2019.

Crews also have installed underground utilities and drainage structures, including a four-foot-wide storm drain crossing, and built retaining or “mechanically stabilized” earth walls.

The walls will feature the “River Bank” aesthetic treatment reflecting Laveen’s agricultural heritage. This is one of five aesthetic patterns that will be used along various stretches of the hioghway.

Following completion of the bridge and reopening Elliot Road at 59th Avenue in March, additional work will be needed to complete the interchange. That work will include paving the ramps and mainline freeway, signage, final striping and landscaping.

Local traffic can detour to Dobbins Road between 59th and 75th avenues until the bridge is completed.

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