By Paul Maryniak for Ahwatukee Foothills News
Residents reacted with skepticism last week to assurances from Phoenix Street Transportation Department representatives that the pending Chandler Boulevard extension will handle traffic when Pecos Road is temporarily shut down for construction of the South Mountain Freeway.
During the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee meeting Aug. 22, audience members peppered Chris Turner-Noteware, deputy street transportation director, with questions and expressions of doubt about the accuracy of her department’s traffic projections.
“If we have 18,000 cars on this roadway, it’s going to be a pretty significant increase,” Kelly Horton told Turner-Noteware, expressing concern that the extension would essentially be the only way in and out of Club West once Pecos Road is shut down.
The 18,000 figure was what the city study said a two-lane artery can typically absorb.
The Chandler Boulevard Extension, a 1.2-mile stretch between 27th and 19th avenues, would not only replace Pecos Road as an alternate route if it is closed during freeway construction, but would also become a permanent part of Ahwatukee’s street grid.
About 30 feet wide and bordered by South Mountain Park to the north and state trust land to the south, the east-west extension would be a two-lane highway with bike paths on either side. It would be doubled in width to accommodate two more lanes if the trust land is ever sold and developed, city officials said.
The city is still eyeing a start date of late summer for the $11.5M project with completion expected next summer. It is unclear yet when Pecos Road will be shut down for the freeway’s construction.
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