Mountain Freeway meetings announced
West Valley View
While a series of
November 2005 meetings turned into heated forums for protestors whose homes and
businesses could potentially be displaced by the future South Mountain Freeway,
a pair of open houses scheduled for tonight and Wednesday aren’t expected to
be anything of the sort.
At least they’re not
designed to be, said Matt Burdick, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of
“The main purpose of
these meetings is to talk with folks and get their feedback on how the South
Mountain Freeway’s I-10 connection points would alter the existing ramps and
access that people are used to using today,” Burdick said. “It’s mainly
geared for residents and businesses that are close to those connection points so
they could be informed that if a freeway connects here, the way they get on to
go to work, or the way they direct customers to their places of business, is
going to change.”
Those changes will
affect on-ramps and roadways within a two-mile radius of one of three potential
Interstate 10 connection points: 55th Avenue, 71st Avenue or Loop 101, Burdick
“In some cases, some
of those on-ramps might not feed directly onto the freeway anymore; they may be
an access road type of system like you have over at the 101 and I-10, where at
99th and 91st avenues you have access roads,” he said. “We’re going to
have big maps on display that show these changes, and what we’ll do is talk
about each of the different connections and what would happen. If there are
certain things that people don’t like, they can provide us with that input.
That would be wonderful.”
Expecting the expected
“Obviously, there will
be questions that will arise, and we’ll be prepared to answer those
questions,” he said. “We’re not in a position to be buying businesses or
buying homes at this point, but certainly we’ll have folks on hand who will be
able to answer those questions as far as what the process is and what’s
Those questions likely
will include queries about the proposed Loop 101 alignment, which would require
the bulldozing of 10 to 15 businesses and somewhere between 240 and 530 homes in
Tolleson, according to ADOT figures. The path-clearing venture, which would take
with it Tolleson Union High School, the municipal center and several industrial
hubs, would “do away with the city’s character, history and culture,”
Tolleson Mayor Adolfo Gamez has said.
For that reason, a
coalition of Tolleson residents has been championing the 55th Avenue option,
which was ADOT’s original choice when it first drew up plans for the freeway
“That seems to be the
way everyone’s thinking,” Burdick said. “Most people are all for the
freeway as long as it connects somewhere else. Unfortunately, it’s going to
have to connect somewhere.”
And sacrifices will have
to be made regardless of where that is, Burdick conceded. The 55th Avenue
alignment would displace 120 houses and 78 businesses, while the 71st Avenue
option would oust 780 houses and 15 businesses.
Once the dust has
settled, the South Mountain Freeway — the final leg of Loop 202 — will
connect the West Valley to the East Valley.
Tonight’s open house
will run from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Phoenix West, 1500 N. 51st Ave. in
Phoenix. Presentations will be given at 5 and 6 p.m.
will be from 5 to 8 p.m. at Santa Maria Middle School, 7250 W. Lower Buckeye
Road in Phoenix. Presentations will begin at 6 and 7 p.m.
More information on the
South Mountain Freeway can be garnered from a special ADOT Web site that focuses
on the controversial venture: www.southmountainfreeway.com.