PHOENIX – For the first time, motorists will use a stretch of the future Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway, in this case through a temporary configuration that will allow work to progress on the 17th Avenue and Desert Foothills Parkway interchanges in Ahwatukee.
In a shift scheduled to occur by 5 a.m. Monday, Feb. 11, both directions of Pecos Road traffic between 17th Avenue and an area west of Desert Foothills Parkway will begin using a temporary alignment on the freeway’s future eastbound lanes. This 2-mile stretch will be reduced to one lane in each direction, connecting with 17th Avenue using what will become the westbound Loop 202 off-ramp and with Desert Foothills Parkway using the westbound Loop 202 on-ramp.
The Arizona Department of Transportation has scheduled a closure of Pecos Road this weekend between 17th Avenue and 24th Street to set up the traffic shift. The closure will start at 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8.
By moving traffic to this temporary configuration, crews can finalize construction of the 17th Avenue interchange without requiring extended weekend and nightly closures of the Pecos Road intersection.
In addition, the traffic shift will allow crews to begin building the Desert Foothills Parkway interchange, the only South Mountain Freeway interchange where construction has yet to start. To accommodate this work, a temporary Desert Foothills Parkway intersection will be located west of the current intersection.
This shift of Pecos Road traffic onto the future South Mountain Freeway is the first of several that will allow Connect 202 Partners, the freeway developer, to advance construction.
Once all traffic is shifted onto the freeway, Pecos Road will be permanently closed and repurposed into a 6-mile shared-use path south of the freeway between 17th Avenue and 40th Street.
Final construction planned for the 17th Avenue interchange includes completing ramps, barrier and sound wall installation, final paving and striping, and crossroad improvements.
In order to create additional room for construction, 17th Avenue traffic south of Cottonwood Lane will be reduced to one lane in each direction and shifted to the east side of the roadway, using the current northbound lanes.
This phase of work is expected to be complete this spring. Local traffic will continue using this temporary configuration until a second shift is needed to complete the rest of the 17th Avenue interchange. Desert Foothills Parkway interchange construction is expected to be completed in summer.
The speed limit through the work zone will be reduced in some areas.
The 22-mile South Mountain Freeway, which is slated to open as early as late 2019, will provide a long-planned direct link between the East Valley and West Valley and a much-needed alternative to I-10 through downtown Phoenix. Approved by Maricopa County voters in 1985 and again in 2004 as part of a comprehensive regional transportation plan, the South Mountain Freeway will complete the Loop 202 and Loop 101 freeway system in the Valley.
ADOT works to inform the public about planned highway restrictions, but there is a possibility that unscheduled closures or restrictions may occur. Weather can also affect a project schedule. To stay up to date with the latest highway conditions around the state, visit ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov or call 511.