Programs and Partnerships

P3 Initiatives

P3 Projects

Current P3 Projects
ADOT Awards First Highway P3 Agreement to Build South Mountain Freeway

On Friday, February 26, 2016, the Arizona Department of Transportation finalized a public-private partnership agreement with Connect 202 Partners to deliver the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway three years sooner and at a cost savings topping $100 million. The 22-mile freeway, expected to open by late 2019, will provide a long-planned direct link between the East Valley and West Valley and a much-needed alternative to Interstate 10 through downtown Phoenix. For more information, see the official media release.

The finalized Design-Build-Maintain Agreement between the Arizona Department of Transportation and Connect 202 Partners is available online:

Design-Build-Maintain Agreement

Design-Build-Maintain Agreement – Exhibits

Technical Provisions

Technical Provisions – Attachments

Information about the short-listed development team proposal rankings, technical scores, prices for design and construction, and 30-year maintenance costs are available. Contact [email protected] for inquiries about the project and the procurement process.

Statewide Ports Of Entry Truck Electronic Screening

ADOT is exploring the possibility of a P3 to design, supply, install, finance, and maintain a mainline truck electronic screening system that can be custom deployed at the six major ports of entry (POE).  It is ADOT’s desire to deploy a standardized mainline electronic screening solution at each of the port locations.  The ultimate solicitation may include the equipment, technology, construction and installation, technology implementation, maintenance of the system, and possibly finance.

South Mountain Freeway P3 Developer Teams Provide Executive Summaries

As part of their responses to ADOT’s Request for Proposals for the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway P3 Project, the three shortlisted developer teams submitted Executive Summaries from their proposals for the $1.75 billion project.  The developer teams’ Executive Summaries include information on the composition of their respective teams, their past experience, and their proposed approach, including innovations.

These Executive Summaries are provided for information only, are not the original work of ADOT, and do not represent ADOT’s opinion or final approved process for design and construction of the freeway. Additionally, ADOT has not approved the recommendations described within each summary.

The best-value selection and award of the design-build-maintain agreement is anticipated in January 2016.

ADOT Shortlists Three Teams for the South Mountain Freeway P3 Project

ADOT announced the three shortlisted developer teams proposing on the $1.9 billion design-build-maintain contract for the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway Project.

This megaproject includes the design, construction, and 30-year maintenance of the last section of the Loop 202 Freeway, which will stretch 22 miles from the Maricopa Freeway segment of Interstate 10 to the Papago Freeway segment of the I-10 in the southwestern quadrant of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.

This project has been a critical part of the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Freeway Program since it was first included in funding through Proposition 300 approved by Maricopa County voters in 1985.  The freeway is also part of the Regional Transportation Plan passed by Maricopa County voters in 2004 through Proposition 400.

This project will be the first highway project procured under Arizona’s public-private-partnership statute and ADOT’s first design-build-maintain project ever.  ADOT will fund the project capital costs with a combination of available public funds from sales tax revenues and tax-exempt bonds.

ADOT received five statements of qualifications for the project last December (2014), and was awaiting release of the project’s Record of Decision before making its shortlisting determination. The Federal Highway Administration issued the Record of Decision last week.

South Mountain Freeway gains final federal approval

PHOENIX – The Valley’s Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway, proposed by regional planners since the 1980s, has received final approval from the Federal Highway Administration, paving the way for the Arizona Department of Transportation to move the project forward.

The Record of Decision (ROD), signed March 5 by the Federal Highway Administration, grants the final approval necessary for ADOT to begin the process of acquiring right of way, complete the design, and begin construction of the 22-mile-long freeway to serve the metro Phoenix region.

The ROD will allow ADOT to begin final design and subsequent construction of the South Mountain Freeway.  Acquisition of right of way is expected to begin immediately.  ADOT has determined that, pursuant to an unsolicited proposal submitted to construct the freeway, construction will follow a public-private partnership path, helping to speed construction and reduce overall costs.  The freeway would not be tolled under any public-private partnership proposal, but would include a private group involved with final design, construction, and a 30-year agreement to maintain the freeway.

“The South Mountain Freeway has been approved as a part of two elections that have provided the region with additional transportation funding.  Voters recognized the need and the benefits of this project to provide connectivity, travel reliability, and route options for a growing region,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski.  “Both ADOT and the Maricopa Association of Governments agree this is a critically needed project, and ADOT is breaking new ground by moving it forward under a public-private partnership agreement to more closely involve the private sector, helping to save money and speed construction.”

The proposed South Mountain Freeway has been a critical part of the Maricopa Association of Governments’ Regional Freeway Program since it was first included in funding through Proposition 300, approved by Maricopa County voters in 1985.  The freeway was also part of the Regional Transportation Plan funding passed by Maricopa County voters in 2004 through Proposition 400.

The South Mountain Freeway is the last piece to complete the Loop 202 and Loop 101 freeway system necessary for high-quality regional mobility, according to regional planners.

“This is a great day and an important milestone in the history of the Valley’s transportation system,” said Maricopa Association of Governments Chair Michael LeVault, mayor of Youngtown.  “It has been a long time coming, and we look forward to the improved mobility and economic opportunities that this freeway facility will bring to our region.”

The environmental review process, which included preparing both draft and final environmental impact statements, was conducted in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and identified the preferred route for this freeway corridor – running east and west along Pecos Road and then north and south between 55th and 63rd avenues, connecting with Interstate 10 on each end.  The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) documented the analysis of potential impacts associated with building the freeway and the no-build alternative and addressed comments received on the draft and final Environmental Impact Statements.  The draft environmental report was published in 2013, followed by publication of the Final Environmental Impact Statement in 2014.

The Federal Highway Administration has decided to identify the Preferred Alternative (a combination of the W59 and E1 Alternatives) as the Selected Alternative for the South Mountain Freeway project.  This decision along with supporting information, including responses to public comments received on the FEIS, is documented in the ROD.

The freeway will be constructed with four lanes in each direction – three general-use lanes and one HOV lane – and modern features that have made Arizona freeways stand apart from other states for a generation, including rubberized asphalt and aesthetics designed in partnership with the community.  The $1.9 billion project is expected to take about four years to construct.

For more information, or to view the ROD, visit

GEICO Sponsors New “Safe Phone Zones” at Highway Rest Areas as Part of Public-Private Partnership

On June 10, 2014, the Arizona Department of Transportation unveiled the new "Safe Phone Zone" signs as part of a partnership with GEICO. The signs feature the GEICO Gecko image and can be seen along the highways leading to the rest areas and within the rest areas themselves. Travelers who stop to take a break at one of Arizona's 14 highway rest area locations will see new signs designating the rest areas as Safe Phone Zones, which is part of a nationwide effort to encourage drivers to pull into a safe location to use their phones for calling, texting and accessing mobile apps.

This sponsorship program is part of ADOT's rest area public-private partnership, which began last October and is the department's first fully implemented public-private partnership. Under this five-year agreement, Infrastructure Corporation of America, a private company, manages the daily maintenance and operations of the rest areas and has implemented a sponsorship and advertising program to generate revenue for reinvestment in the rest areas. The GEICO sponsorship is the first one to move forward. ADOT still owns all 14 rest areas.

"ADOT's top priority is safety and we are committed to educating the public about the dangers of distracted driving," said ADOT Director John Halikowski. "These Safe Phone Zones provide travelers with the opportunity to pull into a rest area where they can use their phones safely and responsibly. We are able to move this project forward because of the legislation enacted to generate public-private partnerships in Arizona — partnerships that have proven to be an innovative approach to funding transportation projects with non-traditional funding sources."

At the sign unveiling, Halikowski was joined by representatives from the Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety, GEICO and Infrastructure Corporation of America to speak about the new Safe Phone Zone signs at ADOT's offices in Phoenix. "Distracted driving is a major concern for motorists in Arizona and across the country. Each year, there is a growing number of injuries and fatal accidents directly related to this issue," said Martha Furnas, GEICO regional vice president. "GEICO is proud to partner with the Arizona Department of Transportation to create Safe Phone Zones throughout the state, where motorists can answer texts and make phone calls, all in a safe and convenient environment."

The Safe Phone Zone signs will be installed and maintained by Infrastructure Corporation of America, as part of the public-private partnership with ADOT. The company plans to generate other sponsorships to add more amenities within the rest areas to provide a better experience for travelers.

"Every state is facing a tremendous challenge to do more with less in order to keep their infrastructure preserved and maintained," said Butch Eley, CEO of Infrastructure Corporation of America. "ICA is proud to be Arizona's partner in an innovative project that will ensure rest areas are well-maintained, that they generate new revenues to support high-quality maintenance, and through GEICO's participation and expansion of the Safe Phone Zones, will make the highways safer. We are thrilled the Arizona Department of Transportation is taking a nationally leading role in advancing this innovative, public-private partnership model for the people of Arizona."

ADOT's Flagstaff P3 Project Moves Forward

The Arizona Department of Transportation is set to relocate to new offices in Flagstaff as part of a first-ever public-private partnership designed to acquire new facilities for the agency and free up prime land for local redevelopment.

ADOT recently selected Vintage Partners, an Arizona-based development firm, as the developer that will relocate and consolidate the agency's offices in Flagstaff. This project, also known as a P3, will enable ADOT to move into new office space in Flagstaff, including new Motor Vehicle Division offices, at no cost to the department, in exchange for ADOT's existing property at 1801 S. Milton Rd.

Additional P3 Projects

Freeway Lighting Upgrade

Analyzing the replacement all of the high pressure sodium lights on the freeway network of the Phoenix Maintenance District (PMD) with LED lighting, installing a system to monitor and control the lights and then operating and maintaining the freeway lighting system for a period of years.  Lighting in the Deck Park Tunnel is also included. Objectives for this project would be to:

  • Provide and maintain illumination coverage and uniformity required to meet applicable safety requirements and standards; and
  • Provide the traveling public and workers safe conditions within the Project during capital improvements, operations, and maintenance;
  • Reduce the amount of energy consumed for illumination; and
  • Minimize overall Project costs by optimizing costs for initial capital improvements, lifecycle equipment replacements, operations, and maintenance.
  • Minimize negative impacts on dark skies and the surrounding nighttime visual environment;
  • Provide lighting systems that minimize future maintenance

ADOT currently envisions a project in which the Developer will enter into private public partnership (“P3”) agreement with ADOT to plan, design and supply all labor and material to replace all existing freeway lighting with LED lighting, and then operate and maintain all lighting.  The detailed method of payment to the private partner is still under consideration.

Stormwater Pump Rehabilitation

The pump stations in the Phoenix Maintenance District (PMD) serve as an integral part of the freeway drainage system by removing storm water from the roadways.  This is a critical function, without which, roadway flooding would severely affect the mobility and safety of the traveling public, as experienced in the fall of 2014.  The system of pump stations was constructed incrementally over a period of time ranging from 1964 to 2009.  The incremental construction of the system, over the long time period, has resulted in a system that lacks uniformity, standardization, and a long-term maintenance and/or replacement plan.  This has led to maintenance concerns and issues that have compounded over time and now exceed the Department's ability to adequately fund repairs and/or replacements.

ADOT is considering a project in which a Developer would enter into a multi-year private public partnership (“P3”) agreement with ADOT to plan, design and supply all labor and material to replace or overall pumps, motors, engines and other equipment associated with the stormwater pumping system that is reaching the end of its useful life, operate and maintain the new system for the term of the agreement. A Request for Information (RFI) for this project is currently underway. Deadline: May 15.

Payments under a P3 agreement may include up-front payments during construction for completing certain elements of scope (milestone payments) and then the right to collect revenue produced by the project or by periodic availability payments during operations and maintenance.  The duration of the P3 Agreement and the detailed method of payment to the private partner are still under consideration.

Potential Projects

CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) Facilities

The concept for this potential project is still being developed, but the idea under consideration is to enter into a long-term P3 agreement with a private entity to design, build, finance, operate and maintain CNG fueling facilities in exchange for the right to sell CNG to public, and perhaps private, users.

With the advent of more cost effective extraction of oil and gas from deep shale formations, domestic natural gas production is at an all-time high, resulting in relatively low and less volatile natural gas prices.  Simultaneously, transit agencies face increasing operational costs that far outpace inflation.  These developments, coupled with improvements in CNG vehicle technology, have led transit agencies across the country to explore the conversion of their vehicle fleets from diesel to CNG.  

Peer agencies have recently initiated efforts to develop CNG fueling facilities utilizing a P3 approach.  Notably, PennDOT and the JTA (Jacksonville Transportation Authority) have expressed interest in CNG facilities, with the release of a P3 RFQ by PennDOT and an agreement between JTA and Clean Energy Fuels Corp. to develop a facility.

There are approximately thirteen CNG fueling facilities in Arizona.  Given the City of Phoenix’s current plans to transition their bus fleet to CNG, other local transit agencies’ existing and planned CNG fleets, as well as the rising use of CNG fuels in other transit systems, freight, heavy-duty trucking, and rail industries, it may be an appropriate time to look into the development of an overall CNG fueling facility program in Arizona.

This synergy of available information and projects creates an opportunity to evaluate the need and feasibility of a P3 project focused on the development of one or more CNG fueling facilities

Statewide Asset Sponsorship Program

ADOT is investigating various opportunities to offset operating costs and/or enhance revenue streams by effective and appropriate corporate sponsorship opportunities on various state-owned transportation assets.  If this were to become a P3, ADOT would contemplate a program in which the consultant will plan, implement and deliver a comprehensive, high-quality sponsorship program and will perform functions including, but not limited to, marketing, sales, development of fee schedules and collection of revenue.  The scope of work would primarily entail the identification of sponsorship opportunities throughout Arizona that are compliant with state and federal law and FHWA directives.  All transportation assets and facilities, except rest areas, are eligible to be included in the program, which includes, but is not limited to, sections of state highway systems, interchanges, freeway patrol vehicles, traffic images and data, the 511 traveler information program, Motor Vehicle Department (MVD), ports of entry, websites, office space merchandising, the Grand Canyon National Park Airport, and the Adopt a Highway program.  The scope of this project would also likely include an estimation of the amount of annual revenue that could be generated through a comprehensive statewide asset sponsorship program operated for, probably a minimum of five (5) years; the development of standard sponsorship agreements, a fee structure for program participation and participation guidelines; the prioritization and aggressive marketing of approved sponsorship opportunities; and finally, the sponsorship implementation that would require negotiation and collection/distribution of fees.

Ports of Entry (POE)

There are two POEs that may have P3 opportunities:

  1. San Luis – the commercial POE is under-utilized and a passenger/pedestrian POE that is extremely congested.  A possible solution might be to offer passenger vehicles a faster and more reliable crossing by having them use the commercial POE for a small fee.  In order to accommodate passenger vehicles, there would need to be some upgrades done and the cost of those upgrades would be what the crossing fee for passenger vehicles would pay for.
  2. Douglas –Due to a landlocked situation and the inability of the Douglas commercial POE to expand on either side of the border, it is anticipated that the current location will continue to experience increasingly longer wait times.  The capacity limitations impact the competitiveness of the port and introduces limitations on development opportunities in the Douglas/Agua Prieta area and the City of Douglas is interested in developing a work plan to evaluate the business case for a proposed new commercial port on land that is available about 4 - 6 miles to the west of the current port.  

North-South Corridor

Expected growth in Pinal County supports the need for a new transportation route.  ADOT and the Federal Highway Administration are studying the area between U.S. Route 60 in Apache Junction and Interstate 10 near Eloy and Picacho.  The purpose of the study is to identify and evaluate a possible route to provide a connection between these two areas.

The study is currently in the alternative selection phase, which means the team will be looking at a range of possible route alternatives, including the effects of taking no action on any improvements (also known as a no-build option).  No funding has been identified for this corridor.

Project map


The concept of an access controlled, high-capacity transportation facility connecting Phoenix and Las Vegas (with connections further north and south) has been around for decades, initiating with the CANAMEX corridor discussions in 1991.  Nevada has been an equal partner with Arizona since the early 1990s, planning for a regional corridor with improved access between Las Vegas and Phoenix and a potential northern extension to Reno – creating a better connected Intermountain West with greater economic opportunities.  Both states have already implemented various planning, design, and construction projects for potential corridor components, with the most notable being the completion of the Hoover Dam Bypass and Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.

Developing a new north-south trade corridor through Nevada and Arizona could supplement the existing system and relieve freight congestion on I-5, one of only two (including I-15) continuous north-south Mexico-to-Canada interstate routes west of Texas.  The CANAMEX corridor, established under the North American Free Trade Agreement, has been designated as such a parallel route, spanning the Western United States between Mexico and Canada through the states of Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Montana.  However, the CANAMEX corridor is composed of a myriad of existing Interstate corridors and state highways, and is not a continuous route due to a gap in the designation between I-10 and US 93.  Implementation of the Corridor can fill this gap – allowing significant commerce, tourism, and international trade opportunities across the Western United States.  More information on I-11 can be found here.  No funding has been identified for this project.