ADOT’s South Mountain Freeway a Finalist for Top National Awards

Largest freeway project in state's history focused on innovation, mobility
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The Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway, the largest project ever managed by the Arizona Department of Transportation, has been selected as one of the Top 12 finalists in the national America’s Transportation Awards competition. Last December, drivers began using the new freeway as the result of an innovative, accelerated schedule that saved several years of construction and millions of dollars in costs.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) announced the $2 billion South Mountain Freeway has advanced to compete for two top awards recognizing projects that make travel in the U.S. safer, better, and more accessible to motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

“The Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway represents the largest project in state history and has been recognized as a model for innovation, safety, and taxpayer value,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “Congratulations to ADOT and the project team for earning this recognition as one of the best transportation projects in the nation.”

The 22-mile-long Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway last month was selected as the first-place winner for innovation and use of technology in the West region stage of the America’s Transportation Awards judging. The project is now among the 12 finalists competing for two separate awards – the Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award.  Both awards come with a $10,000 prize for a charity or transportation-related scholarship of the winner’s choosing.

“Innovation allowed us to open the South Mountain Freeway as a single project three years sooner with savings of $100 million compared to a series of separate projects,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “The public played a key role in helping ADOT and regional planners decide to hire a private developer, Connect 202 Partners, to design, build and now be responsible for maintaining the freeway for 30 years. Getting it done sooner is a win-win collaboration for taxpayers, motorists, and the state.”

An independent panel of transportation industry experts will select the Grand Prize winner, while the general public will decide the People’s Choice Award winner through online voting. Votes can be cast through Oct. 25, 2020, at AmericasTransportationAwards.org. Winners will be announced in November.

Information about other finalists and America’s Transportation Awards, sponsored by AASHTO, AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is available at transportation.org.

Two other ADOT projects won top honors last month in regional competitions for America’s Transportation Awards, which included 79 projects nominated by 36 departments of transportation across the country. The I-10/SR 87 Interchange Reconstruction including I-10 Dust Detection System near Eloy won first place for Operations Excellence, Medium Project. The SR 347 Overpass at Union Pacific Railroad in Maricopa took first place for Quality of Life/Community Development.

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