The Arizona Republic
Feb. 28, 2005 12:00 AM
Gila River Indian Community members may vote as early as spring on whether they would allow the South Mountain Freeway (Loop 202) to be built there.
The only other route officially under consideration for the southern portion of the freeway is Pecos Road, in southern Ahwatukee Foothills. It has been the only route under consideration the past 20 years.
A vote favoring construction means the Arizona Department of Transportation would be able to explore alternative routes on tribal lands, said Matt Burdick, the agency's spokesman.
The vote could happen as soon as May or in the November
The city of Phoenix and many residents of Ahwatukee Foothills oppose building the freeway along Pecos Road because homes, businesses and a park could be destroyed to make way for the thoroughfare. Some worry about noise, traffic and crime.
The freeway would link with Interstate 10 in the East Valley and West Valley. ADOT is considering three west-side alternative routes and connection points: 71st Avenue, Loop 101 and 55th Avenue, Burdick said.
Gila Community Lt. Gov. Mary Thomas discussed the vote during a South Mountain Citizen Advisory meeting on Thursday. "Personally, I would like to see this issue resolved," Thomas said.