South Mountain Freeway

As of Oct. 12, ADOT still planned to open the South Mountain Freeway’s 32nd Street interchange and the multiuse path.

The Arizona Department of Transportation has pushed back the opening the 32nd Street Interchange and the multi-use path along the South Mountain to Oct. 30.

"Previously we projected Monday, Oct. 19, as the  opening date for both areas," ADOT spokesman Tom Herrmann said. "Because of unanticipated delays, both are now scheduled to open Friday, Oct. 30.  As always, schedules are subject to change because of unforeseen situations."

Until the shared-use path and interchange are open,  both areas are active construction zones, he said, adding, "For everyone's safety, no one should use the shared-use path at this time."

The two projects are the remaining pieces of the $1.7 billion freeway, which opened in December and connects the Chandler and 59th Avenue interchanges of I-10.

The 6-mile multi-use path is open to nonmotorized vehicles and pedestrians and is likely to quickly become a mecca for cyclists across the Valley.

For years, bicyclists across the Valley flocked to Pecos Road, which was considered a premiere training facility where they could cruise up and down hills while reaching speeds of up to 40 mph for stretches between traffic lights.

The path is accessible at each freeway cross street, including 40th, 32nd and 24th streets, Desert Foothills Parkway and 17th Avenue.

ADOT added the 32nd Street Interchange after freeway construction began.

The agency said that in 2005, a citizens advisory committee it had been dealing with when planning the freeway opposed the interchange and so it decided not to include it.

But around the same time the cycling community was clamoring for a bike path, lawmakers and various community leaders also became concerned about the lack of an emergency route for the various schools that aren’t too far from that area.

Then in 2018, neighborhood and political pressure for a full interchange became so loud that the agency decided to take a second look.

ADOT officials sought public input, and hundreds of emails poured into the agency with the overwhelming number begging for an interchange.

After several months of engineering and environmental study, the agency in November 2018 bowed to popular demand and said it would shell out the estimated $10 million needed to build a full interchange.

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