Alternatives for Further Study
The Study Team began with more than 30 alternatives to
evaluate for the South Mountain Freeway corridor. Those
alternatives comprised the two segments of the proposed
freeway: east and west. The split between the east and west
alternatives selected for further study lies just east of
59th Avenue and south of Elliot Road.
western section was narrowed to three alternatives: W55,
W71 and W101. The W55 alternative would connect to I-10
at roughly 55th Avenue, W71 at 71st Avenue, and W101 at
the existing Loop 101/I-10 system interchange.
There is one action alternative in the eastern section,
E1. It generally follows the same alignment as in the 1988
Design Concept Report and connects to I-10 at the Pecos
Road/I-10/Loop 202 Santan Freeway system interchange. ADOT
remains committed to evaluating other alternatives in the
eastern segment should any become available for study.
Numerous potential alternatives have been suggested. Early
in the study, workshops were held with citizens; civic organizations;
the Ahwatukee, Estrella, Laveen and South Mountain village
planning committees; Maricopa County Farm Bureau; and the
Southwest Mayors and Managers group. Participants were invited
to draw alignments on study area maps and aerial photos,
and to indicate cultural or environmental constraints. From
these workshops more than 30 potential alternatives were
identified for the entire corridor.
These 30 public alternatives were grouped into corridors
for review by the technical team, which then narrowed them
to nine “Technical Alternatives.” The nine alignments
were presented to the potentially affected local jurisdictions,
including Tolleson, Avondale, Goodyear, Chandler, Phoenix,
Maricopa County, MAG and the Gila River Indian Community
Could it Connect to I-10 West?
After more than four years of complex technical study and
hundreds of meetings with citizens, elected officials and
others, alternatives were evaluated in great detail for
potential connections to I-10 west near 55th Avenue, 71st
Avenue or at the existing Loop 101 connection.
Are the Major Differences in These Connections?
The 55th Avenue, 71st Avenue, and Loop 101 connections
differ in their proximity to downtown Phoenix. They each
have different social and economic impacts to the neighborhoods,
and each would affect traffic differently along I-10 and
other segments of the Regional Freeway System.
All three alternatives cross a variety of existing and
proposed land uses. Some have greater impacts to future
residential lands while others impact future commercial
or industrial property. Future land uses have been planned
near the original 55th Avenue alignment, which is similar
to the alignment proposed in the mid- to late-1980s. All
three alternatives could result in residential and business
Traffic would operate differently for each alternative.
Based on initial traffic projections for the year 2030:
percent of the traffic on a South Mountain connection to
I-10 at 55th Avenue would come from or go to the east (downtown
Phoenix) on I-10.
With a connection to I-10 at 71st
Avenue, about 40 percent of the South Mountain Freeway traffic
would head to the east on I-10.
a connection to I-10 at the Loop 101, about 33 percent of
the South Mountain Freeway traffic would travel to and from
the east on I-10, with most of the remaining vehicles using
the Loop 101.
In 2006, ADOT determined that the W55 alignment would
be carried forward in the study process as the “preliminary
preferred alternative” for the western segment of
the proposed freeway. ADOT’s preliminary selection
of this alignment was based on regional support, historical
establishment, community considerations and traffic demands
for the region.
Would it Connect to I-10 East?
If built, the South Mountain Freeway would likely connect
to I-10 east at the current interchange of I-10 and Loop
202 (Santan Freeway). The only option available at this
time would have a freeway follow the Pecos Road alignment,
remaining just north of the boarder between Phoenix and
the GRIC. The Pecos Road alignment was first proposed in
River Indian Community
Since the beginning of the study in 2001, ADOT and FHWA
have been working with the GRIC to determine if a portion
of a freeway might be located on community land to the south
of Pecos Road. To date, no GRIC options have been approved
by the community for further study.
GRIC has sole authority to decide if and where a freeway
might be studied or built on its land. Therefore, if an
eastern preference must be identified without GRIC alternatives,
options would include either the Pecos Road alignment or
not building the South Mountain Freeway.
Is Not Building the Freeway Really an Option?
Not building a freeway remains an option. If this option
is selected, the proposed project would not take place and
the environmental effects from taking no action would be
evaluated. It is possible, however, that a new study for
the area could be initiated at some point in the future.
While ADOT has been charged to study the proposed South
Mountain Freeway by the Maricopa Association of Governments,
the regional transportation planning body, ADOT has not
taken a formal position on the roadway and will not do so
until the study is complete and all alternatives evaluated.
on the Alternatives
Exists for South Mountain Freeway
An extensive analysis of population trends, land use plans
and travel demand shows clearly that there is a traffic
problem in the Southwest and Southeast areas of the Valley.
Congestion will continue to worsen if transportation plans
fail to appropriately address increases in population and
At this point in the study process it has been determined
that while planned transit and roadway improvements must
be part of the solution to the Valley's future transportation
needs, a purpose and need exists to include a new freeway
in the South Mountain Corridor., The no-build option, however,
remains an alternative.
The process of identifying alternative routes for the South
Mountain Freeway has included local governments, businesses,
MAG, the GRIC and the general public. The process began
with a public “scoping” phase, during which
a number of alternatives, enhanced transit options and several
conceptual alignments were proposed.
are posted as they become available in PDF format, which
Reader to view.
Valley Freeway System is part of the 2004 voter-approved
Regional Transportation Plan. We are working hard with
our transit partners to implement the voters’
vision and are committed to quality, safety, open communication
with our neighbors, and minimal inconvenience to the