Future freeway

This map shows the state’s preferred corridor for a future north-south freeway in purple. The route supported by Pinal County and local cities and towns is shown in green.

FLORENCE — The Pinal County Board of Supervisors discussed what members liked and didn’t like about the Arizona Department of Transportation’s “preferred corridor” for a future north-south freeway at a work session Wednesday.

Supervisor Todd House, R-Apache Junction said he liked the alignment along Mountain View Road in the northern part of the project. “The original alignment with Ironwood would’ve been chaos.”

Supervisors Chairman Mike Goodman, R-San Tan Valley disagreed, saying the corridor is 8 miles east of the county’s biggest population center, San Tan Valley. He said ADOT’s proposal is great for the State Land Department, but “it doesn’t do much for our needs.”

Goodman said the alignment that received the formal support of Pinal County and the affected cities and towns “made perfect sense.”

House replied that ADOT’s corridor is where it is because of the projected Superstition Vistas master-planned community, estimated to eventually be home to almost 1 million people. San Tan Valley may be the population center now, but “the new big boy on the block is going to be right where that road is going,” House said.

Goodman said 25 years ago, the tentative alignment was Meridian Road. If it had been developed that way, traffic would be much improved today. “And let’s be very clear here, these are taxpayer dollars.” Goodman said he is urging citizens to show up and make their voices heard.

Supervisor Steve Miller, R-Casa Grande, suggested the supervisors hold more study sessions after ADOT’s current round of hearings and find out what their constituents want. He said he has always wished the freeway could start in the south and work north, bringing more commerce sooner to Eloy, Coolidge and Florence.

Supervisor Pete Rios, D-Dudleyville, said he was disappointed in ADOT’s first hearing the night before in Florence. The public was first invited to the high school gym to see maps, receive handouts and sign up to speak, then had to walk to the cafeteria to hear ADOT’s presentation and speak. In the process of walking back and forth, Rios said he missed some of the hearing.

“Don’t bifurcate the hearing,” he advised ADOT. “I think that was shortchanging the public considerably.”

ADOT has scheduled further public meetings for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at Eloy City Hall, and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at Poston Butte High School in San Tan Valley.

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