Drivers in every corner of the East Valley will see major freeway projects in 2004 that will make it easier to get around and to live near highways.
Construction schedules for next year show the Arizona Department of Transportation expects to open two freeway segments and come close to completing its rubberized asphalt program in the East Valley.
"Your larger projects are pretty much focused in the south East Valley," said ADOT spokesman Matt Burdick.
The biggest project in terms of miles is ADOT’s program to repave concrete freeways with rubberized asphalt to muffle tire noise in surrounding neighborhoods. ADOT will put down 31 miles of the stuff in the East Valley.
"That’s good news for anyone within earshot of the freeway," said John Little, a transportation spokesman in Scottsdale.
That city was so eager to get quieter freeways that it made a $3.9 million loan to ADOT to get the pavement sooner than the state had originally scheduled.
This spring, ADOT will pave the freeway from 90th Street to McKellips Road; in the fall, it will do the section from Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard to
Scottsdale Road. The Loop 101 section in between already has rubberized as- phalt, which residents said has cut noise dramatically outside their homes.
Drivers will feel some pain, though. Paving work will require three weekend closures for each direction of travel.
"It’s going to be a challenge, no question, to get it in place, but certainly residents and drivers have made their support known for rubberized asphalt," Burdick said.
One wave of asphalt work will take place from February to June. The rest of the work will occur from August to November. By then, Loop 101 will have rubberized asphalt from Scottsdale Road to Chandler Boulevard, and Loop 202 will have asphalt from Alma School to Higley roads. Also, Interstate 10 will be paved from Baseline to Ray roads.
The only East Valley freeway still scheduled to get rubberized asphalt is Loop 101 from Scottsdale Road to Tatum Boulevard, which will be paved in 2005. Although U.S. 60 will still have concrete east of Val Vista Drive, ADOT doesn’t plan to use asphalt there soon. That will come only after the agency widens the freeway to Ellsworth Road, which will occur near the end of the decade.
Also in 2004, ADOT will open two sections of the Santan Freeway stretch of Loop 202. In the fall, the agency will open Loop 202 from Loop 101 to Arizona Avenue.
ADOT also hopes to open the Santan late in the year from a new interchange at U.S. 60 to Elliot Road. The $80 million project was originally set to open in 2005, but the contractor has such an aggressive schedule that the freeway should open in December 2004 or perhaps early 2005.
"We know it’s going to open early," Burdick said. "We think we’re going to be near year’s end."
Three other major freeway projects will start next year, although the roads won’t open until 2005 or 2006.
Work will start in February on Loop 202 in Mesa from Elliot to Power roads, and on that freeway in Chandler from Arizona Avenue to Gilbert Road. In March, work will start on Loop 202 in Mesa from Higley to Power roads.