The Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway, which will add 22 miles of freeway to the existing Phoenix transportation system, will be open by the end of December, according to Maricopa County Supervisor Jack Sellers.
Sellers said at a Chandler Chamber of Commerce public policy event Nov. 22 that the freeway, which has been under construction since 2017, is scheduled to open before the end of 2019.
The freeway will connect the East and West valleys.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, this is the largest transportation project in state history. ADOT reports savings of more than $100 million, and the freeway is open to the public three years sooner than planned due to a design-build-maintain delivery model. That model means that when the freeway is finished, the developer will be responsible for ensuring the safety of the traveling public for 30 years, according to ADOT.
The idea for this freeway was first brought to the public in 1983, when it was introduced as the Southwest Loop Highway, according to records from ADOT. It was not until 2015 that ADOT was able to issue a record of decision for the project. Major construction on the I-10, Salt River and Pecos segments began in January 2017.
Sellers said that even with the new addition of the freeway, the region has "a lot of work to do" when it comes to freeways, including a planned project on I-10 in the coming years.
Editor note: This story was updated to reflect that the freeway will open at the end of December.