2005 in review: Look back reveals
time of change
By Doug Murphy
Ahwatukee Foothills News
Loop 202 debate heats up
Where to build a South Mountain Loop 202
went from a sleepy assumption that one day the Gila River Indian Community would
probably give approval for its construction south of Pecos Road on tribal land
to the sudden realization that the Indians have shown no interest in the
freeway, leaving Pecos Road as the only possible route at the moment.
The Arizona Department of Transportation provided the
stage for opposition to galvanize in November when it unveiled preliminary plans
that for the first time showed the footprint of the freeway overlaid on
Pecos Road, and explained the need to destroy between 255 and 659 homes to make
room for the freeway depending on whether it is built at ground level or sunken
to reduce noise, as many people would like.
ADOT would like to have the route finalized by the end
of 2006 or early in 2007. The realization that the freeway would come within a
few feet of 6,000 students and six schools prompted one resident, Melanie Pai to
organize Protecting Arizona's Resources and Children (www.protectazchildren.org)
and to begin a petition drive opposing Pecos Road as the route for the freeway
for health reasons. Maps of the freeway can be viewed at www.southmountainfreeway.com.