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ADOT Drives AZ Economic Engine

Photo credit: ADOT

By Joey Hancock & John Guzzon for ENR Southwest

Arizona’s road authority, the Arizona Department of Transportation, helps propel the Southwest economy. While the agency self-performs smaller maintenance and construction jobs, it also builds deep partnerships with contracting firms on a myriad of significant projects.

In 2014, ADOT landed two projects on ENR Southwest’s Top Starts list, including the $109.7M Loop 202 improvements and the $72.6M Loop 101 improvements in the east portion of the Phoenix metro area.

ADOT is also a key player on many of the state’s rural roadways. With FNF Construction, the agency garnered an ENR Southwest Best Projects award in 2014 for State Route 89, which included work done in conjunction with the Navajo Nation.

Meeting Traffic Demands

Due to rising levels of traffic in the Phoenix metro area, it became necessary to widen the Loop 202 and Loop 101 corridors to accommodate future growth of the Scottsdale, Tempe and Chandler suburbs, says Madhu Reddy, district engineer for ADOT’s Phoenix construction district.

The two intersecting Loop projects began construction in 2014 and are slated for completion in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Pulice Construction, Phoenix, is the general contractor on both projects.

The highways incorporate technology upgrades, including new camera systems and sensors to monitor traffic flow and help ensure the safety of commuters. Data will also inform future funding.

Recession Impacted State Roads

The economic downturn set the whole country back financially, but John Halikowski, director for ADOT, says it also forced the agency to put some future projects to the side for the time being.

Consequently, when the state’s revenue took a hit, projects funded by special taxing authorities moved to the fore. Projects in the Phoenix area benefit from Maricopa County’s half-cent sales tax, including loops 101/202 and the $1.9B South Mountain Freeway, a new route to allow interstate traffic to bypass the busy I-10 corridor through downtown Phoenix.

After Maricopa County voters renewed the half-cent sales tax in 2004, “with all funds combined, [the county] has a $17.9B regional transportation plan, consisting of freeways, major arterials and transit,” Halikowski says.

By being conservative and fiscally responsible, he says ADOT has been able to keep preconstruction of the South Mountain Freeway on schedule and has progressed with the widening projects of Loop 101 and Loop 202, despite the lingering effects of the economic downturn.

Slated to begin construction later this year, South Mountain Freeway incorporates years of research and studies.

The 22-mile freeway connecting the east and west valleys will help alleviate congestion in downtown Phoenix, according to ADOT.

Read more at ENR Southwest