Due to the travel demand between the East Valley and Central Phoenix, MAG developed the Southeast Corridor Major Investment Study (SE Corridor MIS) to explore transportation strategies. The first task was identifying member agency needs. Then MAG developed a multi-modal approach with the anticipated traffic volume on Interstate 10 between the SR-202 “Pecos Stack” and the SR-51/SR-202L/Red Mountain “Mini-Stack” traffic interchanges. The study also included the US-60/ Superstition Freeway and the Interstate 17/Black Canyon Freeway traffic interchanges.

The purpose for studying the Southeast Corridor was because this area represents some of the greatest concentrations of employment. Therefore it had evolving needs for many transportation services. In 2001, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) launched an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Study for Interstate 10 between the SR-51 and SR-202L/Santan-South Mountain Freeways. The purpose of this study was to consider expansion options for Interstate 10. 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.

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

  • Review 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 the travel demand between the East Valley and Central Phoenix to identify possible alternative transportation mode strategies to accommodate demand in addition to freeway widening scenarios;
  • Consult with project stakeholders on the project’s findings and recommendations; and
  • Develop a preferred investment strategy for the Southeast Corridor.

Since June 2010, HDR, Inc., the consultant for the study, developed and analyzed three bundles of over 25 different transportation alternatives. These would handle travel demand forecasts in the Southeast Corridor area that runs from downtown Phoenix to downtown Chandler. The results of this study produced alternatives 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, increased HOV capacity, interconnectivity with the light rail system, and possible 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 strategy for the future of the Southeast Valley in handling future travel demand between the East Valley and Central Phoenix.

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