Arizona State Route 202

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State Loop 202 marker

State Loop 202
Route information
Maintained by ADOT
Length:55.00 mi[1] (88.51 km)
Existed:1990 – present
Major junctions
Beltway around Mesa
CCW end: I‑10 / SR 51 (Mini Stack) in Phoenix

US 60 in Mesa
Loop 101 in Tempe

Loop 101 in Chandler
CW end: I‑10 in Chandler
Highway system
SR 195SR 210
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"Loop 202" and "Arizona Loop 202" redirect here. For other uses, see List of highways numbered 202.

State Loop 202 marker

State Loop 202
Route information
Maintained by ADOT
Length:55.00 mi[1] (88.51 km)
Existed:1990 – present
Major junctions
Beltway around Mesa
CCW end: I‑10 / SR 51 (Mini Stack) in Phoenix

US 60 in Mesa
Loop 101 in Tempe

Loop 101 in Chandler
CW end: I‑10 in Chandler
Highway system
SR 195SR 210

State Route 202, or Loop 202, (spoken as two-oh-two) is the beltway encompassing the eastern Phoenix, Arizona, United States Metropolitan area. It navigates and surrounds the cities of Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, and Gilbert, making it very vital to the area freeway system. It currently begins at the Mini Stack interchange with Interstate 10 (I-10) and State Route 51 (SR 51), and ends at I-10 near Ahwatukee.

Route description[edit]

When fully complete, plans call for Loop 202 to consist of three sections. Two of these sections, the Red Mountain Freeway and the Santan Freeway, have been fully completed.

Red Mountain Freeway[edit]

The first section of Loop 202 to open was the Red Mountain Freeway. It runs from the I-10/SR 51 Mini Stack interchange to US Route 60 (US 60), and passes over the Salt River and through Tempe and Mesa en route, with an interchange with Loop 101 in Tempe. The final segment of the freeway from Power Road to University Drive opened on July 21, 2008.[2] This opening marked the completion of the original Regional Freeway System as approved by Maricopa County voters in 1985 by Proposition 300.[3]

In 2006, this portion of Loop 202 was used to portray a Saudi Arabian superhighway in the 2007 film, The Kingdom. Filming also took place at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and the Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus. The city of Mesa received $40,000 for the usage of the freeway from NBC Universal.[4]

As of October 2012, HOV lanes on the Red Mountain section run from I-10/SR 51 to Gilbert Road. HOV lanes are planned to extend to US 60 in Mesa, eventually tying into planned HOV lanes on the Santan Freeway.

Santan Freeway[edit]

Completed in 2006,[5] the Santan Freeway serves the southeast valley cities of Chandler, Gilbert, and Mesa and provides access to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, the former Williams Air Force Base. Beginning at the SuperRedTan interchange with US 60 in Mesa, the freeway runs south and turns westward in Gilbert near the airport. A few miles later the Santan is running in Chandler, where it has a junction with Loop 101 in the vicinity of the Chandler Fashion Center. Following this interchange, the Santan Freeway section of Loop 202 encounters its terminus at a stack interchange with I-10 near Ahwatukee.[6]

Old colored Arizona Loop 202 shield that is being phased out.

The Santan section has HOV lanes between I-10/Pecos Rd and Gilbert Rd. Future plans call for HOV lanes to extend to US 60 and planned HOV lanes on the Red Mountain section.

Future: South Mountain Freeway[edit]

The third, yet unbuilt and most controversial [7] segment of the Loop 202 partial beltway is the South Mountain Freeway. Construction has been continuously delayed due to ongoing tension between three separate groups: regional transportation planners, who insist that the freeway is necessary to ensure smooth traffic flow in the coming decades;[8] residents of the adjacent Ahwatukee community, who could lose 120 homes to eminent domain depending on the road's final alignment; and leaders and residents of the adjoining Gila River Indian Community (GRIC), who have oscillated between opposing and supporting the freeway in recent years.[9]

The South Mountain Freeway has two distinct segments: the "eastern segment" that straddles the Ahwatukee-GRIC border, and the "western segment" that will parallel 59th Avenue through the southwest Phoenix community of Laveen. Together, these segments would form a 21.9-mile bypass around Downtown Phoenix, linking the metropolitan area's southwestern and southeastern suburbs. The freeway as currently envisioned would begin at the existing four-level symmetrical stack interchange between I-10 and the Santan Freeway on the Chandler-Ahwatukee border and terminate at I-10 and 59th Avenue west of Downtown Phoenix.[10]

The specific alignment of the freeway has been revised repeatedly since 1985, when Maricopa County voters originally approved its construction as part of the regional highway network envisioned under Proposition 300.[11] In 1988, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), the region's transportation planning agency, suggested an alignment of the freeway's western segment along 55th Avenue and an alignment of the eastern segment along Pecos Road.[12] A federal study in 2001 required ADOT to reexamine those suggestions, and the task of recommending the final alignment fell to a Citizen's Advisory Team formed in 2002. In April 2006, that panel released their final recommendations to route the western portion of the freeway four miles further west to connect with Loop 101, and to reject the proposed alignment of the eastern portion along Pecos Road, suggesting that the latter be built on GRIC land instead.[13][14] Two months later, ADOT overruled the panel's suggestion for the western segment and opted for the current 59th Avenue alignment instead.[12]

In February 2012, a non-binding referendum was held in the Gila River Indian Community on whether the eastern portion of the freeway should be built on Community land several miles south of Pecos Road. Options in the referendum were to build on Community land, off Community land, or not at all. The "no build" option won a plurality of votes, receiving 720 votes out of a total 1,481 cast.[15] MAG sent out a press release soon after making it clear that construction of the freeway would move forward as planned along the Pecos Road alignment.[8] Expecting this outcome, MAG and ADOT had previously (in 2010) shrunk the freeway's footprint from 10 lanes to eight in order to minimize its impact on Ahwatukee.[16] Fearing the worst possible outcome of the freeway being built without exits onto Community land (as would be the case with the Pecos Road alignment), GRIC residents quickly formulated plans for a new referendum that would exclude the "no build" option, leaving only "yes on Gila River or no on Gila River."[17] The tribal government rejected this proposal in July 2013.[18]

As of September 2013, the freeway still faces active opposition. A non-profit group called the Gila River Alliance for a Clean Environment filed a civil-rights complaint with ADOT in July, claiming the freeway would disproportionately and adversely affect tribe members. A freeway opposition group called Protecting Arizona's Resources and Children is planning an environmental lawsuit.[19] And the Environmental Protection Agency in August raised several objections to the state's 12-year, $21 million draft environmental impact statement that had deemed construction of the freeway to be more beneficial to the environment (by improving traffic flow and thus reducing pollution) than building no freeway at all. The EPA claimed that the statement contained overly optimistic traffic projections, did not sufficiently address air quality concerns, and could harm neighboring communities and environmental resources.[20] Despite these objections, the $1.9-billion freeway is scheduled to start construction between 2014 and 2015.[8]

Exit list[edit]

The entire route is in Maricopa County.

Phoenix0.000.00 I‑10 west (Papago Freeway) – Los Angeles, CAContinuation past exit 1A
0.000.001A I‑10 east (Papago Freeway) / SR 51 north (Piestewa Freeway) – TucsonWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
0.941.511B24th Street
1.983.191C32nd Street
2.724.38240th Street / 44th Street
3.525.663 SR 143 south (Hohokam Expressway) / Washington Street / McDowell RoadEastbound exit and westbound entrance
4.116.61452nd Street / Van Buren Street
Tempe5.378.645 SR 143 south (Hohokam Expressway) – Sky Harbor AirportWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
6.4110.326Priest Drive / Center Parkway
7.7712.507Scottsdale Road / Rural Road – Arizona State University
8.7014.008McClintock DriveEastbound exit and westbound entrance
Mesa9.6215.489 Loop 101 – Scottsdale, Chandler
10.9617.6410Dobson Road
11.8519.0711Alma School Road
12.6920.4212McKellips RoadEastbound exit and westbound entrance
13.3221.4413 SR 87 (Country Club Drive) – Payson
16.3026.2316Gilbert RoadEastbound exit and westbound entrance
17.2627.7817McDowell RoadWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
19.1230.7719Val Vista Drive
20.1132.3620Greenfield Road
21.3234.3121Higley Road
22.5636.3122Recker Road
23.1837.3023APower RoadEastbound exit and westbound entrance
23BMcDowell Road to Power RoadWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
25McKellips Road
26Brown Road
27University Drive
28Broadway Road
30.1448.5130 US 60 (Superstition Freeway) – Globe, PhoenixSigned as exits 30A (east) and 30B (west); SuperRedTan Interchange
31.1750.1631Baseline RoadNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
32.2951.9732Guadalupe Road
33.8854.5233Elliot Road
34.6555.7634Hawes Road
Gilbert36.6659.0036 Power RoadPhoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport; ASU Polytechnic Campus
38.8562.5238Higley Road
40.6765.4540Williams Field RoadSanTan Village Mall and Power Center
41.2366.3541Santan Village ParkwayEastbound exit and westbound entrance; Santan Village Mall and Power Center
42.8468.9442Val Vista DriveMercy Gilbert Hospital
44.0170.8344Gilbert RoadGilbert Crossroads Power Center
Chandler45.4773.1845 Cooper RoadChandler Municipal Airport
46.1074.1946McQueen Road
47.9277.1247 SR 87 (Arizona Avenue)Downtown Chandler
48.7478.4448Alma School Road
49.9080.3149Dobson RoadWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
50.7281.6350A Loop 101 north (Price Freeway)Clockwise (southern) terminus of Loop 101
50.9882.0450BPrice RoadChandler Fashion Center; also serves Loop 101 frontage roads
51.7583.2851McClintock Drive / Chandler Village DriveEastbound exit and westbound entrance; Chandler Fashion Center
52.1883.9853Kyrene Road
54.1087.0755 I‑10 (Maricopa Freeway) – Tucson, PhoenixFuture terminus of South Mountain Freeway extension
55.0088.51Pecos Road westBegin at-grade intersections westbound
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Spur route[edit]

Arizona Spur 202 is an unsigned state highway located in Phoenix. It begins at Red Mountain Freeway (Loop 202) at exit 5. It continues west, intersecting the Hohokam Expressway (SR 143) and ends at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. This is an unsigned route, marked by westbound exit signs from Loop 202 as Sky Harbor Boulevard. The spur route was commissioned in 1993.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Staff. "ADOT Highway Log" (PDF). Arizona Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on May 18, 2007. Retrieved July 16, 2007. 
  2. ^ "Freeway opening scheduled for July 21". The Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ). Retrieved July 10, 2008. 
  3. ^ Staff. "Loop 202 Power to University". Arizona Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on February 8, 2008. Retrieved February 2, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Is that Loop 202?". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved March 5, 2008. 
  5. ^ Staff. "Loop 202 (Santan Freeway)". Arizona Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on February 8, 2008. Retrieved February 2, 2008. 
  6. ^ Arizona Department of Transportation. Project Map L202 (Map). Cartography by ADOT. Archived from the original on February 8, 2008. Retrieved February 2, 2008.
  7. ^ Caitlin Cruz. "Gila River landowners' signatures back South Mountain Freeway". Arizona Republic. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c
  9. ^ Cathryn Creno. "184 homes in South Mountain Freeway path, planners say". Arizona Republic. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
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  12. ^ a b
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External links[edit]