- Associated Press - Monday, May 5, 2014

MESA, Ariz. (AP) - The first mile of a new freeway in Mesa is open and connected with an existing one.

The Arizona Department of Transportation says the new freeway is State Route 24, the Gateway Freeway.

It opened to traffic late Sunday afternoon and now connects freeway-to-freeway with the Loop 202, also known as the Santan Freeway.

ADOT says the one-mile stretch of SR 24 between Loop 202 and Ellsworth Road provides improved access to development in the region around Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

Construction of the $73 million dollar SR 24 project began in March 2012.

Mesa accelerated the construction work by several years through a transportation-bonding program.