Once a freeway exit to nowhere off Loop 101, the 64th Street exit is now open to traffic. Less than a mile of road opened in May 2015 connecting the freeway to Mayo Boulevard to the south. The new exit may help relieve congestion for commuters using the Scottsdale Road or 56th Street exits, but city leaders say the project is part of preparation for the biomedical corridor that they expect the area to become in the near future.
The freeway interchange at 64th Street was first approved in 2004 under the Maricopa Association of Governments regional transportation plan. But until May, the exit connected to nowhere. Halted plans for development, costs and other challenges left Phoenix’s Street Transportation Department unable to complete the road. When the Mayo Clinic, located at 56th Street and Mayo Boulevard, began building a cancer center to the east they gave Phoenix thousands of truckloads of dirt to use for the new road. The donation of dirt saved the city about $600,000 for construction on the 64th exit, the total exit project cost was about $7.42 million according to the Phoenix Street Transportation Department.
The Mayo Clinic cancer center is set to open in 2016 and will be served by the new road and freeway exit. Other health projects planned for the area south of Desert Ridge will also require roads to expand and community developments likely are to follow.
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