Cathy Carlat said drivers in the West Valley were presented with a gift on Saturday — the gift of time.
Gov. Jan Brewer, Maricopa County Supervisor Max Wilson and a host local and regional representatives braved the heat Saturday for the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the final section of Loop 303.
Beginning some time next week, motorists will be able to drive from the I-17 all the way around to the I-10 in Goodyear, thanks to the new connection from Happy Valley Parkway in Peoria north and east to the I-17.
Carlat, Peoria’s vice mayor who represents the Mesquite District in which much of the new freeway is located, said she is excited to see what changes the completed Loop 303 will bring.
“It took many years of planning and construction to complete this project and what we have now is greater than the sum of its parts,” she said. “What we are giving our residents with this new freeway is the gift of time, and what greater gift is there? Less time in traffic means more time to spend with family. This is a great addition to the West Valley, and this is only the beginning.”
Brewer told the hundreds of people attending the ceremony that “this is truly a great day for Arizona. This is a wonderful example of what can come when state, regional and local partners, along with private industry, work together toward one goal.”
Those who came to the ceremony parked along the freeway just north of Happy Valley Parkway and were allowed to walk, bike or simply explore the new freeway. A stage was set up on the freeway west of Lake Pleasant Parkway, in a spot with a particularly picturesque view. Wilson said he was happier to be there than people may have realized.
“The importance of this freeway is as great today as it was to voters way back in 1985 when it was approved,” he said. “Those who have lived in the West Valley as long as I have will agree this roadway is long, long overdue.”
Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs said she was a stay-at-home mother in 1985 when she was asked to help get out the vote in favor of Proposition 300.
“Being here now with all of these people who helped to make this happen, it’s like 26 years of my life passing before my eyes,” she said.
Jeff Dempsey may be reached at 623-876-2531 or firstname.lastname@example.org.