Developer selected for South Mountain Freeway

The $1.75bn transportation project is the first in Arizona to be procured through a P3.

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has selected a developer to build the South Mountain Freeway project, the last remaining section of the Loop 202 system to be constructed. 

After ADOT received an unsolicited proposal to develop the segment in 2013, the department launched a procurement to identify qualified teams to complete the project. Shortlisted consortium Connect 202 Partners was then awarded the public-private partnership (PPP; P3) contract to design, build and maintain the stretch for 30 years. 

“While ADOT has successfully built and managed hundreds of miles of freeways in the Phoenix metropolitan area, following a [P3] path for the first time was an appropriate tool for the South Mountain Freeway,” said ADOT director John Halikowski. 

Connect 202 is a 12-member consortium led by Fluor Construction, Granite Construction, Ames Construction, DBI Services and lead designer Parsons Brinkerhoff. 

The South Mountain Freeway is a 22-mile stretch of highway that according to ADOT “provides a critical direct link between the West Valley and the East Valley”. It connects two sections of Interstate 10 and allows traffic to bypass downtown Phoenix. It consists of four lanes in each direction, which includes one set of HOV lanes.

There is no expectation of tolling since the project is backed by tax-exempt bonds that have already been issued and a Maricopa County sales tax.

ADOT's goal when launching the project was to spark innovation and attract alternative concepts that would save time and money in its development, which the department said would otherwise have typically been split into several smaller projects. Ultimately a P3 was chosen as packaging the entirety of the work in a single procurement promised greater cost savings and an accelerated construction timeline. 

Construction of the freeway, a project that has been part of the region's transportation plan since 1985, is expected to start in summer 2016.