PHOENIX — A series of six community forums will be conducted by the Arizona Department of Transportation beginning June 4 to provide additional opportunities for members of the public to comment on the proposed South Mountain Freeway.
While these forums are not formal public hearings and will not include presentations, they will allow members of the public to view the study video, talk with technical experts about the draft environmental impact statement and provide comments to a court reporter.
Forums will be held:
- June 4, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Sunridge Elementary School – Cafetorium, 6244 W. Roosevelt St. in Phoenix.
- June 18, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at The Foothills Golf Club – Saguaro Room, 2201 E. Clubhouse Drive in Phoenix.
- June 22, 9 a.m. to noon at the Komatke Boys and Girls Club, 5047 W. Pecos Road on the Gila River Indian Community.
- June 25, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Windmill Suites – Arizona Ballroom, 3535 W. Chandler Blvd. in Chandler.
- July 9, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Laveen Education Center – Boardroom, 5001 W. Dobbins Road in Laveen.
- July 11, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix/Avondale – Ballroom, 11460 W. Hilton Way in Avondale.
These community forums provide an opportunity beyond the formal public hearing, which was held May 21, for members of the public from across the region to learn more about the project and provide comments for the formal record.
All comments and questions will be addressed as part of the final environmental impact statement, which is set for release in 2014. This final document will have a 60-day public review period. A record of decision from the Federal Highway Administration is expected in 2014.
Those with comments about the proposed South Mountain Freeway don’t need to wait until a community forum – comments are currently being accepted through July 24, via these channels:
The six-chapter draft environmental impact statement covers potential impacts from building or not building a freeway, coordination with the Gila River Indian Community, purpose and need for a new freeway, alternatives studied and public outreach efforts since the study was launched in 2001.
The proposed South Mountain Freeway has been a critical part of the Maricopa Association of Governments’ Regional Freeway Program since it was first included in funding through Proposition 300 approved by Maricopa County voters in 1985. The freeway was also part of the Regional Transportation Plan funding passed by Maricopa County voters in 2004 through Proposition 400.
Funding for the South Mountain Freeway is already available in the Maricopa Association of Governments’ Regional Transportation Plan; construction of the freeway, if approved, could begin as soon as 2015. The eight-lane freeway would run from I-10 in the West Valley along 59th Avenue, cut across the southwest corner of South Mountain Park, and connect with Pecos Road on the south side of Ahwatukee to connect with I-10 and the Loop 202 Santan Freeway. The 22- to 24-mile-long freeway has a $1.9 billion budget, allocated through voter-approved transportation funds as outlined in the Regional Transportation Plan.
For more information on the draft environmental impact statement or the community forums for the South Mountain Freeway, please visit azdot.gov/SouthMountainFreeway.