VALLEY - Pressure is mounting for a decision on the South Mountain Freeway's
At a meeting last week of the South Mountain Citizens Advisory Team, the
Arizona Department of Transportation asked the citizens group to make its
recommendation by late January on one of three preferred alignments for the
Several members said they still lacked information critical to an informed
decision, and questioned what they called a sudden deadline imposition.
don't understand why, after three years, all of a sudden in the last three
months everything has to end," said David Lafferty, who represents
Tolleson on the advisory team. "I want to know what's going on.
What's happening, ADOT officials said, is that the long-delayed proposed
freeway has caused a backlog on other transportation and development projects
crucial to state and local governments.
In the rapidly expanding West Valley, the future of the South Mountain Freeway
has "absolutely" been the sticking point on a number of development
projects stymied by uncertainty over the freeway's location, said ADOT
spokesman Matt Burdick.
ADOT has at least five freeway construction or expansion projects in planning
stages now whose progress is in some way contingent on the South Mountain
Freeway western leg alignment, Burdick said.
ADOT has proposed connecting Interstate 10 to the southern leg of Loop 202
through 55th Avenue, 71st Avenue or Loop 101.
With the one-year anniversary approaching of the passage of Proposition 400,
the half-cent sales tax voters approved in November to fund 20 years' worth of
transportation projects, local governments are getting anxious to see work
Though representatives of cities affected by the freeway said they also want
to see the project move forward, many questioned the group's ability to
adequately digest the bulk of technical information it will receive in coming
The group will receive 22 technical reports in the next two and a half months.
Though the rushed timetable has frustrated some team members, many said they
were also anxious to see progress on Loop 202.
"The sooner we have a plan and put it in place, the better, because of
the explosive growth in the West Valley," said Jim Buster of Avondale.