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Start Of South Mountain Freeway Construction Slated For September

south mountain freeway sign
(Photo by Al Macias - KJZZ)
A sign indicates a future South Mountain Freeway intersection in the Southwest Valley.

State transportation officials say construction on the South Mountain Freeway will start in September after a federal judge ruled against a coalition that’s tried to block the project.

Work on the 22 mile extension of the Loop 202 is scheduled to start where it connects with Interstate 10 in the East Valley.

A “very aggressive schedule” will get the project done in about three years, said Dustin Krugel, spokesman with the Arizona Department of Transportation.

“The opponents of this project are certainly entitled to appeal, but Friday’s decision is a huge victory for Valley motorists, and we intend to start construction on the project in early September,” Krugel said.

The design process continues and officials anticipate starting construction in the West Valley this winter, Krugel said.

But the coalition opposed to the project said they'll appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, and they think the court will conclude that freeway planners broke federal environmental law.

Meanwhile, they plan to ask for an injunction pending the appeal.

It will be up to a judge to rule on the injunction request before construction starts, said attorney Howard Shanker, who represents Protecting Arizona’s Resources and Children.

“They’re supposed to take these motions for injunctions as a priority because we need to avoid irreparable harm before a court can hear the merits,” Shanker said. “I think it would be a disservice to everybody if a judge just sat on it.”

If the 9th Circuit denies the appeal, Shanker said he may ask for a rehearing en banc.

Loop 202 Extension Map

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.