proposal puts homes in jeopardy
Ahwatukee Foothills News
A design for the South Mountain Loop 202 Freeway
unveiled last week shows that more than 100 Ahwatukee Foothills homes are in the
proposed right-of-way and may need to be purchased and demolished.
And the profile of the freeway shows that it will be
25 feet in the air at each intersection as it passes through Ahwatukee
"I'm frustrated," said Rock Argabright, an
Ahwatukee Foothills real estate agent and member of the South Mountain Loop 202
Citizens Advisory Team that is advising the state on the design of the freeway.
He said he counted as many as 180 homes that might
have to be demolished in Ahwatukee Foothills alone to make way for the freeway
that will connect Interstate 10 at Pecos Road with I-10 in the West Valley
somewhere between Loop 101 and 51st Avenue.
The public will have an opportunity to see the
detailed design at a public hearing from noon to 8 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Grace Inn
at Ahwatukee, 10831 S. 51st St.
Engineers thought that just 18 homes and a church had
been built in the original 1988 right-of-way in Ahwatukee Foothills and would
have to be demolished. But the new design takes up more space than anticipated
almost two decades ago for water retention areas and for on- and off-ramps at
32nd Street that wasn't originally included.
Another problem area is around 27th Avenue and
Cottonwood Lane where new homes have just been built in what could be the
Engineers on the project explained that burying the
freeway would create expensive problems with water retention and water flows off
South Mountain, would require expensive relocation of underground utilities and
is a problem because the solid granite makes digging difficult, especially in
But for Laurel Arndt a depressed roadway would
generate less noise and engineers simply need to figure out how to mitigate the
"If they want to mitigate, they need to think
outside the box," said Arndt, an Ahwatukee Foothills resident and member of
the advisory team.
The plan is tentative, and no decisions have made, but
the proposed design can't be significantly changed unless the Gila River Indian
Community approved the freeway on tribal land, something that is looking less
and less likely.
"Basically what they've told us is that they have
a (Tribal Council) resolution opposing any freeway on tribal land," said
Matt Burdick, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Transportation.
He said that ADOT will go back to the Tribal Council
to discuss the possibly of building a Loop 202 freeway on Gila River Indian
Community land, but "we don't have a lot of time left."
Mary Thomas, the tribe's current lieutenant governor
and candidate in the November election for governor, didn't close the door on a
possible Indian route, but wasn't very enthusiastic.
"Not completely gone away," was how she
described the possibility that the Tribal Council would approve a freeway south
of Pecos Road on Indian land. But she did add that nothing had changed in the
past months to change the council's opposition to a freeway.
A decision on a route for the western portion of the
freeway is expected in January, where additional homes are in jeopardy of being
demolished. A recommendation for the eastern route, basically where Pecos Road
now is, is expected by the end of 2006 or early in 2007 with the full project
finalized in 2007.
The reporter can be reached at (480)
898-7914 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.