worries over freeway
Route decision could affect city
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 1, 2006 12:00 AM
Rod and Nellie Rodriguez have seen a lot change during the 62 years they have
lived on Polk Street in Tolleson.
When they got married in the 1940s, the area was full of farmers and vegetable
stands. They have watched it grow to an industrial community with more than
They value progress but don't want the South Mountain Freeway running through
"Maybe I'm kind of selfish that way, but I
don't think we need anything like that in the town," Nellie said. "It
would interfere with too much of our city, our businesses, our homes. It just
wouldn't be right for the city."
The South Mountain Citizens Advisory Team is to choose its preferred western
alignment on March 30, a decision that could gravely affect Tolleson. The
freeway would complete Loop 202, linking Interstate 10 in the West Valley to
I-10 near Ahwatukee, bypassing Phoenix.
If the advisory group selects the 97th Avenue alignment through the
6-square-mile city, Tolleson could lose up to 370 acres. Fourteen lanes of
traffic would be installed in the Van Buren Street area.
The panel's preference is only a recommendation. The Arizona Department of
Transportation will take it into consideration when making a decision next year.
Two other locations proposed for the freeway's western leg to connect to
Interstate 10 are at 55th Avenue or 71st Avenue.
Margaret and Robert Rodriguez hope ADOT goes with an alternative. They moved to
Tolleson from Phoenix two years ago.
"We got out of the big city. We're trying to get away from the freeway and
here they are following us," Margaret said.
The couple bought their home near 83rd Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road for
"If it's going to happen here, we'll probably have to move," Margaret
ADOT's relocation assistance program says home and business owners will be
considered for reimbursement on a case-by-case basis.
Randy Frank, plant manager for the Bay State Milling Co. at 99th Avenue between
Van Buren Street and Buckeye Road, fears a Tolleson alignment could eat up a
chunk of the northeastern corner of the 13-acre property.
"It would restrict future growth in that area," Frank said.
The company distributes flour to Valley bakeries and could use the land for
Tolleson's neighbor, Avondale, wouldn't be hit as hard. City officials fear the
worst-case scenario would be the option along 99th Avenue, which would affect
Avondale's Auto Mall and developments on McDowell Road.