route would plow through Tolleson. Another would devour dozens of hotel rooms
and businesses. All would consume hundreds of homes.
The proposed alignments of the South Mountain Freeway will be on display next
week at a public meeting in the Southwest Valley.
For the first time in the freeway's 20-year history, residents will be able to
look at photographs and see which homes and businesses could be affected if
the $1.1 billion freeway goes through.
the Arizona Department of Transportation say they are expecting emotional
reactions from residents whose homes and neighborhoods could be obliterated.
"We don't want no freeway," said Mercy Rocha, 69, of Tolleson. If
the freeway connects at Loop 101, it would pass right through the community.
"Our town is small, and if we have a freeway, it's going to cut it in
half and we'll be smaller."
The proposed South Mountain Freeway would connect to Interstate 10 in the West
Valley and near Ahwatukee Foothills in the south. ADOT has suggested linking
the freeway to I-10 in the West Valley at Loop 101, 71st Avenue or 55th
Avenue. Maps showing each of the potential alignments will be on display at
the public meeting.
Each proposed alignment has its champions and critics.
Leslie C. Williams, a longtime Laveen resident and property owner, has been
encouraging people to attend the meetings. He is part of Citizens Supporting a
55th Avenue Alignment, a group that is lobbying to keep the freeway as it was
planned in the late 1980s.