In the first half of 2019, crews working on this Arizona Department of Transportation project have made significant progress along the Papago segment between Interstate 10 and Lower Buckeye Road, including:
- Placing the last bridge girder, measuring 97 feet long and weighing 83,000 pounds, for the Van Buren Street traffic interchange
- Starting construction on the 59th Avenue northbound frontage road between Buckeye Road and Van Buren Street that is slated to open late this year
- Opening the future 59th Avenue southbound frontage between Van Buren Street and Buckeye Road to carry two-way traffic until the northbound frontage road is completed
- Pouring the concrete bridge deck for the Lower Buckeye Road interchange; the Buckeye Road and Van Buren Street interchanges are next in line for similar work
- Building an overpass over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks
The South Mountain Freeway will include 2.5-mile frontage roads to maintain northbound and southbound access to businesses and residences adjacent to the freeway between Roosevelt Street and Lower Buckeye Road. These one-way frontage roads will have two travel lanes in each direction and traffic signals at each major intersection.
With various lane closures still in place along 59th Avenue for final construction between I-10 and Lower Buckeye Road, motorists should consider alternate routes such as 51st and 67th avenues until late 2019. While business access is being maintained at all times, the potential for delays will continue.
The South Mountain Freeway is scheduled for full completion in 2020, although traffic is expected to be using the freeway earlier. It will provide a long-planned direct link between the East Valley and West Valley and an 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.