A project to add five miles of travel lanes to the Phoenix area’s newest freeway is advancing in the southeast Valley, with some of State Route 24’s concrete pavement already in place. The Arizona Department of Transportation’s $77 million Gateway Freeway project, which started last November, will add a divided road between Ellsworth Road and Ironwood Drive when it is completed.
"We are looking forward to providing drivers in the region, including southeast Mesa and Queen Creek, with this new extension of the Gateway Freeway by fall of 2022,” Doug Nintzel, ADOT spokesman for the Metro Phoenix region, says. “The entire project team, including prime contractor FNF Construction (headquartered in Tempe), is doing a good job with phasing the work to deliver five miles of an all-new interim four-lane highway that will help ease growing traffic demands in this area."
A stretch of SR 24 is now paved between Meridian Road and Ironwood Drive, near the boundary between Maricopa and Pinal counties. The paving is part of an initial phase to build the future intersection between SR 24 and Ironwood Drive. Current restrictions along Ironwood Drive are scheduled to wrap up by early this summer.
The project is currently focused on earthwork and drainage improvements. A fleet of large trucks and other equipment is being used to haul dirt to build embankments for bridges that will carry SR 24 over Ellsworth Road in an area close to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. A drainage channel that will run parallel to the SR 24 extension on the north side of the freeway corridor also is under construction.
Since the ultimate build-out of SR 24 is not anticipated until Phase V of the Maricopa Association of Governments’ Regional Transportation Plan, ADOT and the Federal Highway Administration have planned for an interim facility that will help serve the region's transportation needs until additional funding is made available. The interim facility will preserve the access control plan for this corridor outlined in the 2011 Design Concept Report and be built at or above grade throughout.
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This article originally appeared in the bimonthly Arizona Contractor & Community magazine, Jul/Aug 2021 issue, Vol. 10, No. 4.