The Arizona Department of Transportation gave Ahwatukee leaders and
residents a status report this week on the proposed South Mountain (202)
Freeway, but much of the reaction was dismay.
Discussions at Monday night's Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee
meeting revolved around three main issues:
- People questioned whether the freeway, which would link with
Interstate 10 around South Mountain, was actually intended for
- Members of the committee were baffled by ADOT's insistence on
proceeding with the environmental impact study that does not include a
look at an alternative route south of Pecos Road, through the Gila River
- After two decades of talk about the freeway's route, Pecos Road was
still the only option actively being studied by ADOT.
"I'm trying to get a feel for the game of chicken that is going
on," said Laurel Arndt, a member of the planning committee.
Amy Edwards, a project manager with the engineering firm HDR that has been
hired by ADOT, asserted the importance of getting the beleaguered project on
"ADOT is feeling a lot of pressure to try to move this along,"
She said ADOT could not legally simultaneously conduct two different
environmental impact studies on the same project. "We're trying to move
forward because the west side is developing so rapidly."
In recent months, ADOT has determined, with the help of the Gila River
Indian Community and Phoenix, which Ahwatukee Foothills streets would make
appropriate connections to a freeway should one be built along Pecos Road.
The streets include 40th, 32nd and 24th streets, Desert Foothills Parkway,
and the vicinity of 17th and 25th avenues.
"You should just stop it, slow up," said Paul Everett, a member of
Everett was concerned about the disclosure of the connector streets for a
Pecos route absent any option for building the freeway on the Gila River
"Resolve that issue before you just steamroll through," he said.
ADOT officials said the Gila River Indian Community is still considering
whether to allow a freeway to be built on the reservation. Information from
the reservation could be added to the environmental impact study report on
the proposed routes until the Gila River Indian Community makes a decision.
The environmental impact study includes analysis of air quality, cultural
sites, potential hazardous waste sites, the displacement of businesses and
residences, noise, costs and other issues.
The environmental impact study and preliminary design of the project was
begun in 2001 and is expected to be complete by 2006.
If after the study's completion the Maricopa County Association of
Governments, the community and other governmental bodies deem the freeway
unfeasible or unnecessary, the process will stop. The freeway will not be
Should the freeway be built, a final design will be completed in two to
eight years. That process would begin in 2007. Construction on the freeway
would begin in 2009 and would take from two to 12 years to complete.
The freeway would be funded by money raised from the half-cent sales tax
voters approved in the November 2004 election.