In response to the growing travel demand between the East Valley and Central Phoenix, MAG developed the Southeast Corridor Major Investment Study (SE Corridor MIS) for the purpose of investigating alternate transportation strategies.  This included identifying member agency needs and developing a multi-modal approach in accordance with the anticipated traffic volume on Interstate 10 (I-10) between the SR-202L/Santan-South Mountain “Pecos Stack” and the SR-51/SR-202L/Red Mountain “Mini-Stack” traffic interchanges.  In addition the study area included the US-60/ Superstition Freeway and the Interstate 17/Black Canyon Freeway traffic interchanges.

The purpose for studying the Southeast Corridor is related to this area of the Valley representing some of the greatest concentrations of employment and the evolving need for a variety of transportation services.  Beginning in 2001, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) launched an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Study for the Interstate 10 corridor between SR-51 and SR-202L/Santan-South Mountain Freeways.  The primary purpose of this EIS was to consider different expansion options for Interstate 10.  As this effort was underway, MAG member agencies wanted other transportation options to be considered in the Southeast Corridor, as well as the potential for congestion pricing along I-10 to meet future travel demand.  The Southeast Corridor Major Investment Study was developed to examine these options in this portion of the Valley.

The work program for the SE Corridor MIS included the following tasks:

  • Review of all transportation investments proposed for the Southeast Corridor, including those proposed along other parallel facilities, such as SR-101L/Price Freeway and SR-202L/Red Mountain Freeway;
  • Study of the travel demand shed between the East Valley and Central Phoenix to identify the potential for alternative transportation mode strategies to accommodate demand in addition to freeway widening scenarios;
  • Consultation with project stakeholders on the project’s findings and recommendations; and
  • Development of a preferred investment strategy for the Southeast Corridor.

Since receiving notice to proceed on the study in June 2010, HDR, Inc., the consultant selected for the study, has developed, studied, and analyzed three bundles of more than 25 different transportation alternatives to accommodate the travel demand forecasts in the Southeast Corridor area that reaches from Downtown Phoenix to Downtown Chandler.  The analysis performed for this Major Investment Study produced alternatives for the corridor in the forms of high capacity transit on exclusive right-of-way, improved local transit access via ramps directly accessing HOV lanes, additional freeway general purpose lanes, increasing HOV capacity, interconnectivity with the existing light rail system, and potential commuter rail options.  The recommended alternative from the SE Corridor MIS provides the majority of these elements.  Results from the modeling conducted for the study indicate that speeds for the I-10 general purpose lanes, as well as the proposed HOV lane configurations, provided acceptable and reliable mobility for the anticipated future traffic volumes.  The recommended alternative also indicated that improved benefit-cost ratios can be achieved.

The study recommendation serves as a high-potential strategy for the future of the Southeast Valley in accommodating the future travel demand between the East Valley and Central Phoenix.

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