The Arizona Department of Transportation revealed Dec. 28 that Connect 202 Partners is the preferred developer for the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway, the first highway public-private partnership in Arizona. Connect 202 Enterprises includes Fluor, Granite Construction, Ames Construction, Parsons Brinckerhoff, DBi Services, AZTEC Engineering, Stanley Consultant, Kleinfelder Group, and AMEC Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc..
Construction cost on the 22-mile highway is expected to top $2 billion and includes decades-long maintenance agreements for the P-3 firms. Construction is expected to begin in summer 2016 and will continue until 2019 or 2020.

After an unsolicited public-private partnership proposal was submitted in 2013, ADOT sought proposals from qualified teams vying to develop the 22-mile-long freeway, which is the last piece of the Loop 202 system and a critical direct link between the West Valley and East Valley in the Phoenix metro. From the five initial proposals submitted, three finalists were selected after a qualifications assessment to advance in the selection process.
The finalists were Connect 202 Partners, South Mountain Development Group and South Mountain Mobility Group.
South Mountain Mobility Group included Dragados USA, Flatiron Constructors, Pulice Construction Inc., AECOM, ACS Infrastructure Development, and Flatiron Construction.
The South Mountain Development Group includes Kiewit, Sundt Construction, Parsons, Miller Infrastructures, Gannett Fleming, Kimley-Horn and Associates, TYLin, Logan Simpson, Terracon Consultants, and Sunland Asphalt.
“While ADOT has successfully built and managed hundreds of miles of freeways in the Phoenix metropolitan area, following a public-private partnership path for the first time was an appropriate tool for the South Mountain Freeway,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “ADOT will be able to complete this much-needed project sooner as a result, while increasing the likelihood of saving taxpayer dollars.”

ADOT is expected to finalize the contract with Connect 202 Partners by mid-February.

“The South Mountain Freeway is a critical piece of the MAG freeway program,” said Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane, chair of the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Council. “The freeway has been included in the voter-approved Regional Transportation Plan since 1985 and will provide improved mobility for residents in the MAG region. The design, construction and maintenance of the freeway by a private developer is a unique and innovative approach to delivering this important project.”
The 22-mile freeway will have four lanes in each direction, including one HOV lane in each direction. According to ADOT, work will include more than 8 million cu yds of roadway excavation, 3 million cu yds of rock excavation, 2 million cu yds of drainage excavation, and 8 million cu yds of borrow excavation. More than 78 bridges are expected to be built in order to complete the project. The freeway will connect with Interstate 10 at both ends: in the east valley where the currently operational portion of the Loop 202/Santan Freeway terminates, between Chandler and Pecos roads; and in the west valley, between 55th and 63rd avenues.

The Loop 202/South Mountain Freeway was originally proposed in 1985 and is the last remaining portion of the regional freeways to begin development.