Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway

South Mountain Freeway construction

Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway

HDR is General Engineering Consultant for Arizona DOT’s First Public-Private Partnership Project

The United States’ fifth-largest city Phoenix, Arizona — is also the county seat of America’s fastest-growing county, Maricopa, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. Work is currently underway to expand the Phoenix highway transportation infrastructure to handle this surge in population and relieve urban traffic congestion. The Arizona Department of Transportation chose HDR to serve as the General Engineering Consultant in ADOT’s first design-build-maintain project contract for the design and construction of the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway. This ambitious $1.7 billion program, the first major highway public-private partnership in Arizona, is ADOT’s largest project ever. 

The Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway will connect the east and west valleys of the Phoenix metropolitan area and offer much-needed, greater mobility along the city’s southwest quadrant. The highway will extend 22 miles with eight lanes (three general purpose lanes and one high-occupancy vehicle lane in each direction), and is set to open to the public in November 2019. This vast project includes 13 service (crossroad) traffic interchanges and one system-to-system traffic interchange with Interstate 10. There are 40 bridges including five multi-use (wildlife) crossings, plus a pedestrian bridge and a six-mile long, shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists. 

A state-of-the-art freeway is emerging in well-orchestrated sequences while builders methodically construct a complex rolling-profile freeway with elevated, at-grade, or partially depressed road levels. The goal of this type of design is to optimize safety and efficiency while minimizing environmental damage.

As of June 1, 2018, overall project progress reached the halfway point; the design is more than 90 percent complete and construction more than 35 percent complete. While five new flyover bridges are being constructed at the future system-to-system interchange with Interstate 10, new access roads have opened to motorists as South Mountain Freeway moves closer to a late 2019 opening. 

P3 Expertise

Since 2001, we’ve provided a series of consulting services for ADOT to help steer a project of this magnitude forward. For example, we produced the environmental impact statement, refined design concepts and fine-tuned P3 initiatives. Our expertise in lining up P3 delivery formats means ADOT can deliver the project three years ahead of schedule, saving at least $120 million. Such preparatory efforts laid the groundwork for ADOT to select us in 2015 as the project GEC with our winning strategy of “Continuity, Innovation, Capacity, Locally Delivered.” 

We advise ADOT and perform oversight functions for the design and construction work by the developer, Connect 202 Partners (Fluor, Granite, and Ames). Our staff includes strategic communications and public outreach professionals; roadway, drainage, structural, geotechnical, and traffic engineers; environmental scientists (biology, hazardous materials, cultural); utility coordinators; project controls, scheduling and document control professionals; labor compliance managers; administrative staff; construction inspectors; and materials and quality managers.

Our entire project staff strategically and creatively collaborate with each other to share findings and best practices that can improve and augment project delivery methods. When our project controls team implemented the first fully integrated, enterprise Project Management Information System for ADOT, they coordinated their data-gathering requirements with HDR project colleagues from other disciplines. That way, they could develop a more-targeted data treasure trove and strengthen our overall capabilities to monitor and manage project operations. 

GEC Capabilities

In our GEC role we’ve demonstrated how we can offer, pull together and streamline our varied services to meet or surpass ADOT requests on a complex project. Several HDR cross-sector services serve full-time on the project, including environmental services, field services, geotechnical, project controls and strategic communications; while additional services such as value engineering; visualization + interactive design; architecture and engineering, structural, mechanical, electrical and civil; economics; geospatial solutions; and real estate services have been provided as needed to maintain project development and schedule.  

Along with our cross sectors, professionals from our water group reviewed water/sewer design plans and analyzed how the project could impact pump-station capacity for existing ADOT pumps, while our power and energy staff assisted in project coordination with local power clients.

South Mountain Freeway construction