PHOENIX — State transportation officials plan a series of public hearings next month on the route for a proposed north-south freeway in Pinal County.

The Draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement for the 55-mile North-South Corridor, stretching from U.S. 60 in the Apache Junction area to Interstate 10 in or near Eloy in Pinal County, is now available for review and comment.

Following several years of study, technical analysis and input from communities and stakeholders, moving to this phase is seen as a milestone for the proposed corridor.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, the purpose of the north-south freeway is enhancing the area’s transportation network to accommodate the current and future population, improving access to businesses and other centers of activity, improving regional mobility, providing an alternative to and reducing congestion on Interstate 10, improving north-to-south connectivity and integrating the region’s transportation network.

ADOT said members of the public are encouraged to review the draft environmental document and provide input through Oct. 29. The Draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement is available at azdot.gov/northsouthstudy, and the website lists locations throughout the study area where copies of the Draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement are available for review.

Prepared by ADOT, the Draft Tier 1 document describes the study process, completed in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. It proposes a Preferred Corridor Alternative, including a parallel analysis of a No-Build Alternative. If constructed, the freeway would connect with State Route 24 in Queen Creek.

The Preferred Corridor Alternative is 1,500 feet wide and includes an area where construction of a north-south freeway could be further analyzed. If a corridor is selected at the end of the Tier 1 study, further Tier 2 studies and evaluations must take place before construction could be considered. The corridor would be narrowed to a highway alignment, which is about 400 feet wide.

An alignment determining where the north-south freeway could be built would be decided during a future phase of design and environmental studies, ADOT said. There currently are no plans or funding available to initiate these Tier 2 studies.

The public hearings and locations are:

  • Florence, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Florence High School, 1000 S. Main St.
  • Eloy, Thursday, Oct. 10, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Eloy City Hall, 595 N. C St.
  • San Tan Valley, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Poston Butte High School, 32375 N. Gantzel Road.

In addition to providing verbal or written comments at a public hearing, members of the public can submit comments using the following methods:

  • Online: azdot.gov/northsouthstudy
  • Email: northsouth@azdot.gov (link sends email)
  • Bilingual phone: 1-855-712-8530
  • Mail: North-South Tier 1 EIS Study Team, c/o ADOT Communications, 1655 W. Jackson St., Mail Drop 126F, Phoenix, AZ 85007

Printed copies of the Draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement are available for review at the following locations:

  • Eloy Santa Cruz Library: 1000 N. Main St., Eloy.
  • Coolidge Public Library: 160 W. Central Ave., Coolidge.
  • Florence Community Library: 778 N. Main St., Florence.
  • Apache Junction Public Library: 1177 N. Idaho Road, Apache Junction.
  • Queen Creek Library: 21802 S. Ellsworth Road, Queen Creek.

Once the public comment period is complete for the Draft Tier 1 statement, the North-South Corridor study team will continue to evaluate the Preferred Corridor Alternative based on the comments received and the ongoing technical analysis.

The combined Final Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement and the Record of Decision will present either a Selected Corridor Alternative or the No-Build Option. The Tier 1 environmental study is expected to be complete in 2020.

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