want to put brakes on freeway
that’s exactly what happened Tuesday at the Tolleson Senior Center, where
hundreds of the city’s residents showed up to convey a nearly identical
message: They don’t want the South Mountain Freeway coming through Tolleson.
don’t think there was a single person there who was in favor of letting the
freeway go through Tolleson,” City Manager Reyes Medrano said. “It was
pretty amazing, actually, because we usually get one or two people in favor of
meeting was set up by the Arizona Department of Transportation to gauge public
opinion on the future freeway, which eventually will complete Loop 202 with an
Interstate 10 connection at one of three proposed locations: 55th Avenue, 71st
Avenue or Loop 101.
the Loop 101 option has received a glowing endorsement by the Maricopa
Association of Governments, it’s ruffled quite a few feathers in Tolleson,
where it would mean running the roadway right through the middle of town.
it goes through Tolleson, in my opinion, it will create a city that’s
divided,” Tolleson Mayor Adolfo Gamez said. “I wouldn’t even consider this
a city anymore. It would do away with the city’s character, history and
to mention Tolleson Union High School, the municipal center and several
industrial hubs — all of which would be uprooted to make room for the freeway,
addition to the loss of 10 to 15 Tolleson-based businesses, the Loop 101
alignment would require the bulldozing of somewhere between 240 and 530 homes,
ADOT figures reveal.
of which might explain Tuesday’s turnout of concerned citizens.
not that the residents are opposed to the South Mountain Freeway,” Medrano
said. “It’s just that they don’t want to see it running through
Tolleson favors 55th Ave. option
planned on going with the 55th Avenue alignment before these other options
popped up,” Medrano said. “[The residents] want them to go with their
original choice because they think it makes much more sense.”
that may be true for Tolleson residents, the people who live near the proposed
55th Avenue site likely have a different view. To connect the freeway at 55th,
construction crews would have to demolish 120 houses and 78 businesses, ADOT
the 71st Avenue option would put the kibosh on 780 houses and 15 businesses,
the state faces opposition for all three alignments, Medrano believes the
concerted effort to sway officials away from Tolleson might actually be working,
truly believe the people at ADOT have been influenced by all the things our
residents have had to say,” Medrano said. “It’s premature for me to say
they’re going to decide against the Tolleson alignment, but I do believe they
understand our concerns and they’re doing their best to incorporate that into
their overall decision.”
completed in 2015, the long-planned South Mountain Freeway will provide three
lanes of travel in each direction from the West Valley all the way to Ahwatukee.
Construction is expected to begin sometime in 2009, ADOT spokesman Matt Burdick
John Machay can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.