cost has doubled in 4 years
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 14, 2006 12:00 AM
Once all the land was bought, existing houses torn down and the road
itself constructed, the proposed South Mountain Freeway would cost $1.7 billion
to $2.4 billion.
In the West Valley, it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase
land, homes and businesses in the path of each of the three proposed western
alignments, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Rising prices for real estate and construction materials have pushed the
freeway's cost to about double what planners estimated only four years ago.
With new housing developments and several expensive industrial plants in
the way of the proposed routes, it could cost up to $74 million per mile to buy
the land and properties along the western leg alone.
The 22- to 26-mile route would complete Loop 202 and connect to Interstate 10 in
the west and east, bypassing downtown Phoenix. ADOT has proposed linking the
freeway's western leg to I-10 at 55th Avenue, 71st Avenue or Loop 101.
In 2002, MAG estimated that the freeway would cost $1.1 billion.
The high cost is just one of the factors that the South Mountain Citizens
Advisory Team will have to take into account when the panel votes April 27 on
where it thinks the western part of the freeway should go.
Presented with the right-of-way cost estimates at an April 6 meeting, members of
the team expressed little surprise over the high cost.
"This will be the most expensive freeway ADOT has ever built - until they
build the next one," said Laurie Prendergast of Laveen. "It truly is a
shame they didn't have the foresight to get it done when they should have, back
in the '80s. To retrofit a freeway is a major heartache for everyone
The most expensive option is the Loop 101 connection, which could push the
freeway's total cost to $2.36 billion if selected. That route is the longest and
also passes through businesses including Holsum Bakery, Bay State Milling Co.
and the corporate office for Fry's Food. For homes and businesses displaced by
freeways, ADOT pays fair market value and relocation expenses.
The least expensive option is the connection at 55th Avenue, which could cost
$1.68 billion. That route is shortest and displaces the fewest number of homes,
but would destroy up to 70 businesses.
Home values along the route were assessed through only an eyeball glance from
the street and provide only a rough estimate of what the agency will pay for
them, ADOT spokesman Matt Burdick said. Once a route is selected, a
state-appointed appraiser will evaluate properties to determine ADOT's offer.
ADOT will decide on the freeway's location by fall 2007. The agency would start
buying properties in 2008 and wants to finish the freeway by 2015.