Proposed freeway to serve mostly East Valley
By Doug Murphy
Traffic projections show that if the proposed Loop 202
South Mountain Freeway were taken off the drawing board and built on the desert
floor, it would carry about as many cars in 2030 as Interstate 10 currently
carries between Elliot and Warner roads.
The numbers are found in a recently released report
produced by the Maricopa Association of Governments for the Arizona Department
of Transportation in its quest for a South Mountain Freeway route.
The projections suggest the freeway would carry about
145,000 vehicles a day in the vicinity of 24th Street in 2030.
"It's the equivalent of what we have on I-10
between Elliot and Warner (roads) now," ADOT spokesman Matt Burdick said.
Presented to the public on June 23, the report's
projections also show that construction of the freeway would cut the traffic on
I-10 around Guadalupe Road from 242,000 vehicles a day in 2030 to 223,000.
Currently, about 163,000 vehicles travel along I-10 at Guadalupe Road in a
Much of the traffic that would use South Mountain
Freeway would come from the East Valley, according to the report. Motorists
would use the Loop 202 Santan Freeway to connect with the South Mountain
Freeway. Traffic counts along the Santan at Kyrene Road would increase to
180,000 vehicles a day in 2030, compared with 125,000 vehicles a day if the
South Mountain freeway isn't built.
The numbers were presented to the South Mountain
Citizens Advisory Team, which is helping ADOT find a route for the freeway.
Originally mapped in 1988 to run where Pecos Road now
lies, the South Mountain Freeway is planned to stretch west from the I-10 and
Pecos Road interchange, past South Mountain then turn north to reconnect with
I-10 between 55th Avenue and the Loop 101/I-10 interchange.
However, since 1988 a vast amount of residential
development has popped up along Pecos Road prompting some homeowners and elected
officials from the community to express strong hopes for the route to be moved
south onto the Gila River Indian Community.
But until Indian officials give the go-ahead to study
routes south of Pecos Road, ADOT says it will continue to study the only route
currently available on the eastern leg of the project Pecos Road.
"We anticipate having a draft report addressing
the issues of building on Pecos in fall of 2006," Burdick said, adding that
a draft report doesn't mean the freeway will be built on Pecos Road.
"The whole intention of a draft report is to show
the impact and get feedback from people on what their concerns are if it were
built on Pecos," he said.
And if the Gila River Indian Community approves a study
on the Indian land for a possible route, the planning process could quickly
shift south, Burdick explained.
"We still have a long road ahead of us," he
The reporter can be reached at (480) 898-7914 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.