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Phoenix activists continue battle against freeway’s construction

PHOENIX — Environmental and community leaders continue their fight against the proposed South Mountain Freeway.

Citing serious health concerns during a press conference Wednesday, the groups said the freeway should never be built down Pecos Road and through the western edge of South Mountain.

“It will impact the entire sub-airshed in the Ahwatukee area because you’ve got South Mountain that’s going to trap these fumes,” said Howard Shanker, an attorney representing the community and environmentalist groups.

ADOT recently sent Shanker and his clients a report that showed there will be little environmental impact if the freeway is built. Opponents called the data misleading.

“There are significant flaws in the draft environmental impact statement,” Shanker said. “For example, ADOT indicates that the freeway is necessary to support projected population growth, but the population data they use is grossly overinflated.”

Shanker said ADOT chose to use census data from 2005, even though there were updated figures from 2010, which would drastically decrease their population projections.

Freeway construction could start as soon as 2015 and would take five years to complete.