During this 90-day comment period – twice the length required by federal law – the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration have conducted a day-long public hearing and a series of community forums to help residents learn about the proposed project, and submit formal input and questions.
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 and comment period. A record of decision from the Federal Highway Administration is expected in 2014.
Comments on the draft environmental impact statement are currently being accepted through July 24 via these methods:
• Providing input by email at email@example.com
• Submitting online comments at azdot.gov/SouthMountainFreeway
• Calling 602.712.7006
• By mail to the South Mountain Study Team, 1655 W. Jackson St. MD 126F, Phoenix, AZ 85007
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-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 for the South Mountain Freeway, please visit azdot.gov/SouthMountainFreeway.