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Tribe votes soon on Phoenix-area freeway plan

Gila River Indian Community residents are scheduled to vote Feb. 7 whether to allow the South Mountain Freeway extension on tribal land.

Current plans for the $1.9 billion extension of Loop 202 would link west Phoenix to Chandler with a 22-mile, eight-lane freeway along Pecos Road.

The Arizona Republic reports the current freeway plans would take out a church and more than 100 homes in Ahwatukee. It would also cut through three ridges in the South Mountain preserve. The ridges are religiously and culturally significant to the Gila River tribe.

The reservation alignment would run along flat, undeveloped land and would not require the destruction of mountains or buildings.

However, the state would have to negotiate to obtain several privately owned tracts of land along that route.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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