PHOENIX (AP) -- A consortium of construction companies wants to build a proposed Phoenix-area freeway, and the state said the unsolicited plan has cleared an initial review and could pave the way for a faster and less expensive model for road-building.
The Department of Transportation says the proposal isn't to build the $1.9 billion South Mountain Freeway as a toll route. Instead, the consortium would finance, design and build the freeway and then be paid back from a regional road fund.
The long-proposed freeway would provide an alternative to Interstate 10 across the Phoenix area.
The freeway has stirred controversy because of environmental concerns and because of opposition among some residents of the Gila River Indian Community to allowing the freeway to be built on reservation land.
ADOT said it now plans to study the proposed public-private partnership in more detail.
If the proposal passes the second phase, ADOT said it may use any part or the entire unsolicited proposal as the basis for a request for proposals seeking other firms to submit competitive proposals.
"Any public-private partnership proposal has to be aligned with the goals and interests of taxpayers," said ADOT Director John Halikowski. "We look for concepts that can be done better, faster and less expensively, providing real value for the traveling public."
The private companies are led by Kiewit Development Co., Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., Sundt Construction, Inc. and Parsons Corporation. The consortium is working under the name South Mountain Development Group.