road ahead for new freeway
of the proposed South Mountain Freeway received a boost Wednesday from Rep. J.D.
Hayworth, who came out against the highway because it will destroy hundreds of
homes in Ahwatukee Foothills.
Arizona Republicanís stance comes as Ahwatukee residents get their first
chance today to see precisely where the freeway would cut through their
community. The Arizona Department of Transportation is holding an eight-hour
session to share its plans with residents and field their suggestions and
officials expect plenty of opposition because as many as 250 lots along Pecos
Road are in the freewayís path.
have homes on them.
level of disruption is too much to offset the benefits of having another route
from Ahwatukee Foothills around South Mountain and downtown Phoenix, Hayworth
have been very supportive of ADOT projects in the past, but this is one project
that simply is unacceptable to the people I represent," Hayworth said in a
letter to ADOT.
of thousands of people have moved into Ahwatukee since the proposed freeway
first went on a map in 1985, but it triggered little concern until now. ADOT ran
out of money for the final segment more than a decade ago, leaving the project
seemingly "iffy" at best.
since voters approved a regional transportation plan a year ago, ADOT
resurrected a freeway that it says is essential to easing problems on Interstate
10 at the Broadway curve. The freeway represents the final segment of Loop 202
and would be a key link between the East Valley and West Valley, said Matt
Burdick, an ADOT spokesman.
just wouldnít be able to meet the demand, quite honestly, without the South
Mountain Freeway," Burdick said.
will consider the affect that Hayworth and residents have raised, Burdick said,
and weigh them against the loss of a freeway.
Broadway curve area of I-10, which connects commuters to the East Valley and the
off-ramps that lead to Ahwatukee, already is clogged with 250,000 cars a day.
The area is expected to have 450,000 cars a day in 25 years even with the South
Mountain Freeway, which would have about 140,000 to 170,000 cars a day moving
through the west side, freeway planners predict.
ADOT has just one potential route through Ahwatukee, along Pecos Road. It originally considered the Gila River Indian Community to the south, but tribal leaders wonít let ADOT include their land in studies.
has three potential paths for the freeway to connect with I-10 in the West
Valley and expects less controversy there.
agency wants to adopt an alignment in 2007 and build the freeway between 2009
option includes not building the freeway.
Loop 202 segment is essential to move traffic away from the clogged freeways in
central and downtown Phoenix, said Eric Anderson, transportation director for
the Maricopa Association of Governments.
just start choking the mobility of the region if you donít provide some
alternatives," Anderson said.
key opponents say they want a freeway ó as long as it does not destroy homes.
Phoenix City Councilman Greg Stanton said itís too early to rule out a freeway
on Gila lands because the tribal government in the 1980s lobbied for it. The
tribal community selected a new governor in January and could drop its
opposition, Stanton said.
me itís a false choice at this point to say itís got to be Pecos or
nothing," Stanton said.
said ADOT officials would be open to a change of mind by the Gila community
right up until construction was set to start on the other path, but costs and
delays would grow the later that occurred.
Open house on Loop 202's South Mountain Freeway plan.
Noon to 8 p.m. today. Visitors can drop in any time to see presentations.
Grace Inn, 10831 S. 51st St., Phoenix