Gila River community votes down freeway plan

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SACATON, Ariz. (AP) -- Members of the Gila River Indian Community have voted down a plan to move the proposed South Mountain Freeway a half-mile south, out of the Ahwatukee Foothills.

The state has already spent millions on studies buying dozens of Ahwatukee Foothills homes in the existing right of way.

Tribal voters considered one question with three possible answers -- should the Loop 202 extension from Chandler to Laveen be built on the existing Pecos Road alignment through Ahwatukee Foothills,  be it built on tribal land to the south or not at all.

A vote to oppose either route won't stop the state from going ahead with the freeway through Ahwatukee Foothills.

Plans for a South Mountain Freeway have been around since the early 1960s as a critical east-west reliever for Interstate 10.