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PHOENIX-Chandler residents will be getting an early Christmas present.

On Dec. 23 a 4.5-mile section of the Price Freeway will open to traffic. The section , which runs from Gaudalupe Road to the future Santan Freeway, is the first freeway to open in the fast growing suburb of Phoenix. Chandler has an average of 271 new homes built within its boundaries every month.

“Chandler continues to bring a lot of people in,” says Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny. “One of the things those people talk about to me is improving freeways in the Valley.”

Chandler was the first city in the Valley to accelerate freeway construction by a year by paying the interest on an Arizona Department of Transportation loan, which funded the freeway construction. The city split the $600,000 in interest payments with retail developer Westcor, which is building three retail projects along the route.

The $86-million project has already attracted plenty of new business and millions of dollars in new commercial development.

Westcor is under development on the Chandler Fashion Center, a 1.3 million-sf regional mall at Chandler Boulevard and the Price Freeway. The mall will open late next year. Phoenix-based Westcor is developer and owner of several regional malls in the Valley including Scottsdale Fashion Mall, a popular upscale mall at the corner of Scottsdale and Camelback roads in Scottsdale.

Chandler Festival, a 537,000-sf retail center, with anchors Lowe’s Home Improvement and Nordstrom Rack, is under construction at the northeast corner of Chandler Boulevard and the Price Freeway. And, Chandler Gateway, a retail center anchored by The Great Outdoors, is planned at Germann Road and the Price Freeway.

The Price Freeway from Guadalupe Road to the south will carry an estimated 80,000 vehicles per day when all ramps and lanes are completed this spring. It’s projected that the freeway will handle up to 140,000 cars per day in 2020.

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