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ADOT hosts day-long public session on Loop 202

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Transportation held a day-long public hearing on Tuesday that allowed the public to weigh in on the proposed Loop 202 freeway.

ADOT spokesman Tim Tait said the public hearing was designed to allow the public to give their direct input on the proposal.

“[At the hearing,] the public [could[ provide formal comments to ADOT and the Federal Highway Administration,” he said.

“We would like to see a freeway built,” said Robert Johnson with We Build Arizona Coalition, an organization that supports creating jobs. “It’s time to make a decision and get on with this project.”

To Johnson, the freeway represents, “finishing the system that’s been approved by voters twice, moving traffic, reducing congestion, less air pollution, making sure first responders get to where they need to go on time without getting stuck in traffic jams, getting the economy moving and job creation.”

After the the formal comment period at the end of July, “we will take all the input, we will sort it, respond to it then integrate it to complete a final environmental impact statement,” said Tait. “That would then be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration for their review and consideration.”

The proposed South Mountain Freeway would ultimately connect the East Valley to the West Valley. The freeway would continue along where Pecos Road currently is and connect to Interstate 10 via several possible routes.

Critics said homes would have to be torn down to make room and the Gila River People said it would cut through sacred land.

A decision will come down next year and, if approved, construction could start in 2015.