|The Arizona Republic, 4/22/2003|
Tolleson set for road route tussle
|Sometime in the next month, the city will tell the state it doesn't want
the proposed South Mountain Freeway cutting through town just west of City
Nine possible corridors are being considered for the section of the freeway that will pass through the West Valley. But one of those, the 99th Avenue alignment through Tolleson, has the city especially concerned, City Manager Ralph Velez said.
"We're taking it seriously . . . and saying if it happens, it's going to create an adverse economic impact on the inner city," Velez said.
The South Mountain Freeway is expected to run south from Interstate 10 in the West Valley, curve around South Mountain and head east near Ahwatukee Foothills to reconnect with Interstate 10 near Pecos Road. One alignment would send the freeway through Tolleson, barely skirting City Hall.
That would cause big problems, said Velez, and the city will tell the Arizona Department of Transportation that when it submits its response to initial corridor proposals in two or three weeks. The city would have to relocate two of its water production facilities and several major sewerlines and would see an adverse impact on commercial development along 99th Avenue and on several businesses, Velez said.
ADOT is doing an environmental study on the effects of the various routes. A draft of that study is scheduled to be completed next winter, but may be delayed beyond that because of the complexity of the task, said Doug Nintzel, a spokesman for ADOT.
Construction of the freeway, which has not yet been funded, is many years away. "We've met with the city (Tolleson) and are aware of their stance on the 99th Avenue area alignment," he said. "Their position, along with other public input, will weigh heavily when a decision needs to be made."