Ahwatukee residents object to freeway’s swath - East Valley Tribune: Queen Creek & San Tan Valley

Ahwatukee residents object to freeway’s swath

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Posted: Friday, November 18, 2005 11:26 am | Updated: 9:07 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Annie Gieseking learned Thursday that the proposed South Mountain Freeway spared her house. But she’s not sure it’s good news.

As she looked at a huge map showing the route, she saw the house across from her’s in Ahwatukee Foothills will be destroyed — leaving her with a front-door view of the freeway.

Putting the freeway below grade, also a possibility, requires more room — and would take out her home.

"We love where we live," Gieseking said. "We knew there would be a freeway. But we had no idea it could take out our home."

Gieseking was one of about 2,000 Ahwatukee Foothills residents who got their first glimpse Thursday of a map showing 250 homes in the proposed Loop 202's path along Pecos Road.

An eight-hour open house sparked raw emotion from homeowners who for years knew a freeway was proposed. But seeing its precise path made many question why they bought in the highly desirable community.

Other homeowners spoke with anger. They talked of killing the freeway with political pressure or a ballot proposition. Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., has come out against the freeway, saying it is unacceptable to the people he represents.

The opposition frustrated some homeowners such as Sam and Kathy Parlette. Homebuilders have for many years had maps in their model homes that clearly labeled the freeway’s rough location, Sam Parlette said.

Residents who didn’t want the freeway, or who didn’t pay attention, should have bought elsewhere, he said.

"Anybody who says this is a surprise for them . . . that’s pretty naive," he said.

He fears political pressure could kill the freeway and force Ahwatukee residents to endure even more congestion on Interstate 10.

Many opponents said they expected the freeway would get passed south onto the Gila River Indian Community or that it would never be built.

The freeway was first put on maps in 1985, when voters approved a regional freeway program. Its future fell into doubt when financial woes left it unfunded.

The Gila River community years ago wanted it on its land, but recently refused.

A large number of opponents said the Arizona Department of Transportation should nevertheless try to get the freeway on Gila River community land.

The freeway represents the final segment of Loop 202 and would be a key link between the East Valley and the West Valley. Without it, ADOT would not be able to meet increasingly congested traffic demands, said Matt Burdick, an ADOT spokesman.

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