PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The Arizona Department of Transportation is beginning the final phase of their $1.75 billion Loop 202 expansion project by tearing down nearly 200 vacant homes.
The new freeway will provide a direct link between the east and west valley.
Construction on the new part of the freeway is set to begin next summer, but starting Wednesday, crews will begin razing the vacant homes, which were bought by the state.
ADOT says moving forward with these pre-construction activities will ensure that there are no delays to the project and no additional cost to taxpayers.
The vacant homes will be fully cleared, including landscaping, foundations and pools. The lots will then be covered with crushed granite to aid in dust control until the freeway construction begins.
Plans for this expansion have been in the works for almost two decades, but back in March, ADOT started to acquire the homes and businesses that stood in the way after the federal government gave them final approval.
However, there has been some resistance to this project in the way of a pair of lawsuits from homeowners and a Native American tribe concerning the environmental impact of the construction project.
When the project is complete, Loop 202 will connect from I-10 and Pecos in Ahwatukee to I-10 and 59th Avenue in Laveen.
That connection should be complete by 2020.