PHOENIX — Two major freeway projects that could ease congestion on opposite ends of the Phoenix area are competing for funding.

State Route 30 would help drivers in the West Valley by diverting traffic from Interstate 10 for about 13 miles through Goodyear, Avondale and west Phoenix, State Route 24 in Mesa would extend the existing highway by about three miles, easing the drive between the city and the San Tan Valley area in Pinal County, The Arizona Republic reported ( ).

State Route 30, a $1.6 billion project, would run parallel to I-10 and would connect the under-construction Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway to a planned Loop 303 extension and Maricopa County 85 in Goodyear.

“I-10 is a backbone freeway here in the Valley,” Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman Doug Nintzel said. “Traffic will continue to grow and get worse. That’s why it’s important to exercise alternatives such as State Route 30.”

The Maricopa Association of Governments, the body that funds and plans countywide road projects, expects to have a $787 million surplus this year, which it hopes to use to begin the planning stages of both projects.

ADOT takes the lead on construction once a project is agreed upon and funded by the Maricopa Association of Governments.

State Route 24 would extend the highway southeast about 3 miles from Mesa between Ellsworth Road and Ironwood Drive, and link southeast Maricopa County to the San Tan Valley area in Pinal County. The project is expected to cost $285 million.

Both projects were planned for completion by 2025 under an existing sales tax, but they were postponed when tax revenues dropped during the economic downturn.

Nintzel said there are many projects being considered for the East Valley and that the Maricopa Association of Governments will have to balance that area of the city’s needs.

“We can do all these things,” he said. “But funding is going to be a challenge.”

Information from: The Arizona Republic,