Avenue is the best option for new freeway
More than 20 years ago, Maricopa County voters approved
funding for a regional freeway system that included a leg of highway to be
called the South Mountain Freeway, which would connect Interstate 10 south of
Phoenix with Interstate 10 west of the city. Babies who were born that year
(1985) are now old enough to vote, drive cars, marry, buy new homes in the West
Valley and have children of their own, who in a few short years will be starting
the cycle all over again. Perhaps itís about time the Arizona Department of
Transportation made a decision about where to put the South Mountain Freeway.
1988, the State Transportation Board approved an alignment for the South
Mountain Freeway between 55th and 63rd Avenues. However, since so much time had
passed without any action on the freeway, by 2001 ADOT had to start a brand new
environmental impact study to see if the 55th Avenue route was still viable, or
if other possible routes would work better. In other words, the state was back
to Square 1.
several years, ADOT has been holding public hearings to get peopleís opinions
about where they think the freeway should be built. Several options have been
considered. Because the state has waited so long to make a decision, new homes
and businesses have been built on all of the proposed alignments, meaning many
people will have to be uprooted in order to make room for the highway.
alignment of the future freeway has been narrowed down to three possible
locations: 55th Avenue, 71st Avenue or Loop 101.
Avondale and Tolleson are opposed to the Loop 101 alignment and for good reason.
Tolleson, a small city without any room to grow, would be divided in two by the
freeway and it would gobble up much of the land now available for development of
residential or commercial projects. Avondale doesnít want it because just
south of the Loop 101/Interstae 10 interchange is the Avondale automall, which
would be displaced if ADOT chooses the Loop 101 alignment. The automall is
fairly new and provides the city with much-needed sales tax. Everyone who lives
in Avondale would be adversely affected if the Loop 101 option were selected.
55th Avenue alignment would displace 120 homes and 70 businesses, as opposed to
780 homes and 15 businesses along the 71st Avenue alignment.
decision should be a no-brainer. After all these years, the 55th Avenue
alignment isnít perfect, but itís still the best option.