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Construction is under way to add 12 miles of HOV lanes to the Loop 202 between Gilbert and Interstate 10.

"It's a challenge for the contractors to build the new bridges that are part of this project while also trying to limit impacts on traffic," said Doug Nintzel, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). "While closures and lane restrictions are never easy to schedule, drivers are seeing the progress that's been accomplished in just over six months."

The project was launched last September and remains on target to be completed in 2012, he added.

"Although it's impossible to predict if factors like weather will come into play, the goal is to get the primary improvements in place by late this year," Nintzel said.

This new construction is a separate project from the South Mountain Freeway, which is still undergoing a federal review. Closure and restrictions on the I-10 may still affect Ahwatukee Foothills residents.

Westbound I-10 traffic has been shifted onto a construction bypass near Wild Horse Pass Boulevard and is sharing a portion of the eastbound side of the freeway while crews construct the bridge over the existing westbound lanes, Nintzel said.

Updates on the project and predicted closures can be found at www.azdot.gov or www.valleyfreeways.com.

The San Tan Freeway HOV lane project is an $85 million dollar project that is funded through the Maricopa Association of Government. The plan was approved by voters in 2004. It is one of many HOV lane projects ADOT has been working on in the past few years, following MAG's Regional Transportation Plan.

HOV lanes are being built to promote carpooling, alternative fuel vehicles and bus riding as alternate transportation methods during weekday rush hours. ADOT has added more than 50 miles of HOV lanes along the Phoenix area freeway system since 2008.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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