Freeway study considers up to
6 interchanges along possible route
Ahwatukee Foothills News
Jan. 26, 2005
The Arizona Department of Transportation is continuing
talks with the Gila River Indian Community about building the South
Mountain Loop 202 freeway south of Pecos Road on Indian land.
But in the meantime, ADOT will begin to look at the
impacts of building the freeway where Pecos Road now lies.
The study will include analyzing the impact of
interchanges at 40th, 32nd and 24th streets, Desert Foothills
Parkway and possibly at 17th and 25th avenues. The study also will
look at how much right-of-way ADOT now owns, and if homes or
businesses will need to be bought and demolished to make room for
the six-lane freeway.
Matt Burdick, a spokesman for ADOT, stressed that it
is only a study to see what impact the freeway would have, not a
decision to build on Pecos Road.
"We don't want to put people into a frenzy,
thinking they have to sell their homes," said Burdick, during a
community meeting at Kyrene de los Lagos Elementary School on Jan.
A freeway from Interstate 10 at roughly Pecos Road
around South Mountain to connect with I-10 between 51st Avenue and
Loop 101 was first proposed in 1985 and approved in 1988.
In 2001, a new route study was begun because so much
had changed in Ahwatukee Foothills since the original route and plan
Helen Bernhard was at the meeting last week and hopes
that the freeway is built south of Pecos Road on Indian land, but
wherever it goes, she is tired of studies and ready for action.
"I get a little impatient with the slowness of
ADOT," said Bernhard who moved to Ahwatukee Foothills in 1988
and knew that a freeway near her home was a possibility.
ADOT insists that no route has been selected, but if
the Gila River Indian Community won't allow the freeway on tribal
land, the only alternative is to either build on Pecos Road or not
build at all.
"The only thing you have is Pecos Road,"
said John Pratt who opposes that freeway alignment because it is too
close to homes, schools and churches.
Burdick said ADOT hopes to have a recommendation by
2007, which could be not to build anything.
If the decision is to build, the final design could
take an additional two to eight years with construction beginning,
at the earliest, in 2009.
On the west side of the proposed freeway's route, ADOT
has identified three alternative corridors between 51st Avenue and
the current I-10/Loop 101 interchange.
Thursday, the South Mountain Loop 202 Citizens
Advisory Team will meet in Komatke, on the Gila River Indian
Community to review right-of-way issues and along Pecos Road.
The advisory team is made up of community members from
the areas that would be affected by the freeway from Ahwatukee
Foothills to Tolleson.
The meeting will be held at the Komatke Learning
Center on the northeast corner of 51st Avenue and St. John's Road,
just north of Pecos Road. The meeting runs from 5:30-8:30 p.m. and
is open to the public.
For information, visit www.SouthMountainFreeway.com.