2013: Draft EIS released and public hearing is expected to occur following a final review of the document by the Federal Highway Administration. Final decision on the South Mountain Freeway will follow the release of the Draft EIS, public hearing and comment.
2009: MAG updates the Regional Transportation Plan, includes reducing the South Mountain Freeway's footprint to eight lanes with a connection to I-10 at 59th Avenue.
2007: Public information meetings were held throughout the year to communicate with and receive input from members of the community.
June 2006: ADOT announces the W55 (55th Avenue) Alternative as the "preliminary preferred alternative" based on community input, economic impacts, and traffic information.
Fall 2004: Voters approved funding MAG's Regional Transportation Plan — including South Mountain Freeway.
Fall 2003: ADOT, FHWA, and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers concur on the Alternatives Screening. Three build alternatives plus options are carried forward into the EIS for more detailed analysis.
Fall/Winter 2001: South Mountain Corridor Team determines that there is a purpose and need to continue the EIS study.
Summer/Fall 2001: The South Mountain Corridor Team collects base information and issues on the transportation corridor.
2001: ADOT begins preparation of a new Location/Design Concept Report and EIS to examine a broad range of alternatives to the 1988 South Mountain Freeway concept.
2000: In anticipation of initial construction of the South Mountain Freeway, the City of Phoenix conducts a local study of Ahwatukee Foothills area transportation needs that includes an assessment of freeway options.
1999: ADOT announces plans to accelerate completion of the entire Regional Freeway System by seven years. The acceleration plan includes an unspecified portion of the South Mountain Transportation Corridor, which remains largely unfunded.
1996: A consortium of private companies proposes to build the South Mountain Freeway as a toll road. The consortium would later withdraw its proposal, saying the project was not financially feasible. The South Mountain Transportation Corridor remains a part of the MAG Regional Freeway System but designated as "unfunded."
1994: Due to a funding shortfall, ADOT identifies 76 miles of planned freeways as "unfunded segments" and later drops some of those segments from the system. The South Mountain Transportation Corridor is designated for potential development as a toll road.
1988: A Location/Design Concept Report and a state-level Environmental Assessment are completed for the South Mountain Freeway, designating an alignment along Pecos Road and the Gila River Indian Community border and north to I-10 between 55th and 63rd avenues. This refined corridor is adopted by the State Transportation Board.
1985: Maricopa County voters approve a half-cent sales tax to fund construction of the MAG Regional Freeway System, including a 22-mile freeway connecting I-10 in Chandler with I-10 in west Phoenix.
1983: The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) prepares planning studies for the Phoenix metropolitan area that identify corridors for an integrated freeway network. The South Mountain Transportation Corridor is defined as a roughly two-mile wide corridor from I-10 near 51st Avenue, around South Mountain, to I-10 near Chandler Boulevard.
When the Draft EIS is released to the public, it will detail the options considered in the Southwest Valley and describe the reasons why the 59th Avenue Alternative was selected as the preferred option for the Western Section. The Draft EIS will also detail the Pecos Road option being considered in the Eastern Section area of the study. If other options become available to study, the process will take those into account. The Draft EIS also will discuss the "No-Build Alternative" for the entire South Mountain Freeway to examine the effects of not building the freeway as proposed by MAG.
The Draft EIS will be made available for at least 90 days for the public to review. During that comment period, one public hearing will be held on the contents of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
From there, the public will have another 60-day opportunity to comment on the Final EIS. The comments received during both 90-day and 60-day comment periods will be used by ADOT and FHWA in making a final decision regarding the project. That final decision will be presented in the Record of Decision by FHWA. ADOT will begin acquiring complete the right-of-way acquisition process after the final decision is made.
As part of the final decision-making process, ADOT will work with the MAG regarding the study recommendation and the regional support to fund the project as part of the Regional Transportation Plan approved by voters. Should a build alternative be selected for the South Mountain Freeway, the Regional Transportation Plan designates the construction funding available in Phases I and II of the Regional Transportation Plan.