Arizona State Route 202

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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

Loop 101 in Tempe
US 60 in Mesa

Loop 101 in Chandler
CW end: I‑10 in Chandler
Counties: Maricopa
Highway system
  • State Routes in Arizona
SR 195 SR 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 segment of the South Mountain Freeway, received final approval from the Federal Highway Administration, on March 10, 2015, with construction scheduled for completion as early as 2019.[7][8]

Prior to that it was, and remains, the most controversial[9] segment of the Loop 202 partial beltway . Construction was delayed due to tension between three separate groups: regional transportation planners, who insisted that the freeway is necessary to ensure smooth traffic flow in the coming decades;[10] 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.[11]

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 approved 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.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14] 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 Gila River Indian Community land instead.[15][16] Two months later, ADOT overruled the panel's suggestion for the western segment and opted for the current 59th Avenue alignment instead.[14]

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.[17] 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.[10] 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.[18] 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), Gila River Indian Community 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."[19] The tribal government rejected this proposal in July 2013.[20]

As late as September 2013, the freeway still faced 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 planned an environmental lawsuit.[21] And the Environmental Protection Agency in August 2013 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.[22]

Exit list[edit]

The entire route is in Maricopa County.

Location mi[1] km Exit Destinations Notes
  Begin Red Mountain Freeway
Phoenix 0.00 0.00 I‑10 west (Papago Freeway) – Los Angeles, CA Continuation past exit 1A
0.00 0.00 1A I‑10 east (Papago Freeway) / SR 51 north – Tucson Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
0.94 1.51 1B 24th Street
1.98 3.19 1C 32nd Street
2.72 4.38 2 40th Street / 44th Street
3.52 5.66 3 SR 143 south (Hohokam Expressway) / Washington Street / McDowell Road Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
4.11 6.61 4 52nd Street / Van Buren Street
Tempe 5.37 8.64 5 SR 143 south (Hohokam Expressway) – Sky Harbor Airport Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
6.41 10.32 6 Priest Drive / Center Parkway
7.77 12.50 7 Scottsdale Road / Rural Road – Arizona State University
8.70 14.00 8 McClintock Drive Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
Mesa 9.62 15.48 9 Loop 101 – Scottsdale, Chandler
10.96 17.64 10 Dobson Road
11.85 19.07 11 Alma School Road
12.69 20.42 12 McKellips Road Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
13.32 21.44 13 SR 87 (Country Club Drive) – Payson
16.30 26.23 16 Gilbert Road Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
17.26 27.78 17 McDowell Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
19.12 30.77 19 Val Vista Drive
20.11 32.36 20 Greenfield Road
21.32 34.31 21 Higley Road
22.56 36.31 22 Recker Road
23.18 37.30 23A Power Road Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
23B McDowell Road to Power Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
25 McKellips Road
26 Brown Road
27 University Drive
28 Broadway Road
30.14 48.51 30 US 60 (Superstition Freeway) – Globe, Phoenix Signed as exits 30A (east) and 30B (west); SuperRedTan Interchange
End Red Mountain Freeway, begin San Tan Freeway
31.17 50.16 31 Baseline Road Northbound exit and southbound entrance
32.29 51.97 32 Guadalupe Road
33.88 54.52 33 Elliot Road
34.65 55.76 34 SR 24 (Gateway Freeway) to Ellsworth Road
34.65 55.76 34a Hawes Road Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport
Gilbert 36.66 59.00 36 Power Road Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport; ASU Polytechnic Campus
38.85 62.52 38 Higley Road
40.67 65.45 40 Williams Field Road SanTan Village Mall and Power Center
41.23 66.35 41 Santan Village Parkway Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; Santan Village Mall and Power Center
42.84 68.94 42 Val Vista Drive Mercy Gilbert Hospital
44.01 70.83 44 Gilbert Road Gilbert Crossroads Power Center
Chandler 45.47 73.18 45 Cooper Road Chandler Municipal Airport
46.10 74.19 46 McQueen Road
47.92 77.12 47 SR 87 (Arizona Avenue) Downtown Chandler
48.74 78.44 48 Alma School Road
49.90 80.31 49 Dobson Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
50.72 81.63 50A Loop 101 north (Price Freeway) Clockwise (southern) terminus of Loop 101
50.98 82.04 50B Price Road Chandler Fashion Center; also serves Loop 101 frontage roads
51.75 83.28 51 McClintock Drive / Chandler Village Drive Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; Chandler Fashion Center
52.18 83.98 53 Kyrene Road
54.10 87.07 55 I‑10 (Maricopa Freeway) – Tucson, Phoenix Future terminus of South Mountain Freeway extension
55.00 88.51 Pecos Road west Begin 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.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c 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. ^ Project Map L202 (Map). Cartography by ADOT. Arizona Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on February 8, 2008. Retrieved February 2, 2008. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Caitlin Cruz. "Gila River landowners' signatures back South Mountain Freeway". Arizona Republic. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ Cathryn Creno. "184 homes in South Mountain Freeway path, planners say". Arizona Republic. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  12. ^
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  14. ^ a b
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External links[edit]