Arizona replanting cactuses, trees along new freeway's route


The Arizona Department of Transportation is restoring native vegetation along a newly opened freeway around the south side of metro Phoenix.

More than 1,000 cactuses, trees and other native plants removed from the path of the South Mountain freeway are being replanted along the 22-mile route, the department said.

Plants saved in several locations for three years for eventual landscaping included saguaro, ocotillo and barrel cactus and palo verde, mesquite and ironwood trees.

“Saguaros and other native vegetation are an important part of the environment and an important part of the visual experience,” said LeRoy Brady, ADOT’s chief landscape architect. “We make a significant effort to retain saguaros of any size because we don’t want to lose those decades of growth.”

The department said replanting began in December.