Tonight, the public will have another opportunity to attend one of six Interstate 11 study meetings sponsored by the Arizona Department of Transportation. The meeting will be held in the Marana Middle School cafeteria, located at 11285 W. Grier Road, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Area residents have started circulating a petition in opposition to the project. Nearly one thousand residents have signed the petition to date.
The petition reads in part:
We are vigorously opposed to any potential highway bypass route through the Avra Valley. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Superintendant of Saguaro National Park, Arizona Game and Fish, Tohono O’odham Nation, Pima County Board of Supervisors, and hundreds of residents of Avra Valley are already on record as opposing such a bypass when it was proposed back in 2007.
Avra Valley residents are concerned about the damaging effects from a highway bypass such as increased air, water, and light pollution, traffic noise, loss of ancient archaeological sites, urban sprawl, and the forced end of the peaceful and quiet Avra Valley that they chose to raise their families in. The proposed highway bypass would also force 47 Avra Valley and Picture Rocks families from their homes to make room for the highway.
The Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, comprised of 41 environmental and community groups working in Pima County, states that the proposed Avra Valley highway bypass would negatively impact Saguaro National Park, Tucson Mountain Park, Ironwood Forest National Monument, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Arizona Project wildlife mitigation preserve. The Coalition further states that the proposed highway bypass would block important wildlife movement corridors as identified by Pima County’s nationally-recognized Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, and that such impacts cannot be adequately mitigated.
We urge the Pima County Administrator, Board of Supervisors, and the Arizona (ADOT) and Nevada (NDOT) transportation planners to reject a highway bypass through the Avra Valley because the community and environmental impacts could not be adequately mitigated. Instead, we recommend that transportation planning studies focus on expanding the capacity of existing transportation corridors, which already have the infrastructure (such as gas stations, hotels, restaurants, etc.) to support the traffic along those corridors.