The South Mountain Freeway, the last leg of Loop 202 that would connect the
East and West Valley, is still years away, if it happens at all.
Next week, residents will get a look at a federal research team's latest
review of more than 30 impact studies into the expansion.
The study team is performing detailed studies on everything from
environmental impact to social impact that the freeway would have on three
areas where it may connect to Interstate 10 in the West Valley.
The team won't choose a connection point until next year and won't finish
the report until 2007, but residents can get an update on the latest results
of the South Mountain Citizen Advisory Team at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the
Learning Center Meeting Hall, near the northwestern corner of 51st Avenue
and St. John's Road in Komatke.
"It's a complex project because there is so much that has to be looked
at and so much involved that potentially could be impacted," said Matt
Burdick, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Transportation.
The original 1988 plan called for the freeway to run along Pecos Road in
Ahwatukee Foothills, go around South Mountain Park/Preserve and eventually
connect to I-10 around 59th Avenue in west Phoenix. Budget problems forced
ADOT to temporarily abandon the project until a few years ago.
Now close to 20 years later, the positioning of the billion-dollar freeway
is a big issue for Laveen, Estrella Village and Tolleson, which all stand to
be affected and even divided by the traffic influx. There is also the
possibility that the study team may recommend a no-build option.
The November passage of Proposition 400, a 20-year half-cent sales tax
extension to fund regional transportation plans, re-energized the freeway,
but not without opposition from businesses and homeowners who stand to lose
or gain, depending on the final route.
"It think it's probably an excellent thing, but in any kind of growth
project there are winners and losers," said Greg Brownell, a Laveen
businessman who has been in the area since 1977. "Everybody understands
that it's for the greater good."
The alignments under consideration now are at 55th Avenue, 71st Avenue and
at the Loop 101 alignment, according to Burdick.
If a recommendation to build the freeway were approved by the government,
construction would begin around the end of the decade. Visit
www.southmountainfreeway.com or call (602) 712-7006 for information on the
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or (602) 444-4947.