South Mountain Freeway gets less use than expected in first year

(Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)

By Kevin Stone | KTAR

PHOENIX – The ambitious Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway was designed to ease Phoenix’s crosstown traffic, but its impact was muted by the coronavirus during its first year, officials said.

Arizona’s largest-ever highway project, with a $1.7 million price tag, added 22 high-speed miles to the Valley’s roadways when it opened on Dec. 21, 2019, after 3½ years of construction.

Around 117,000 vehicles a day were expected to use the South Mountain Freeway in year 1.

But with fewer people commuting during the COVID-19 pandemic, daily usage was only about 60,000 vehicles at the beginning of December, the Arizona Department of Transportation said Monday in a press release commemorating the first anniversary.

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