Kids at Lagos Elementary School in Ahwatukee will soon be looking at tarps instead of bulldozers.
Parents and school officials recently met with the Arizona Department of Transportation, worried about negative impacts of Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway's construction work. Their playground is separated only by a chain-link fence and a few hundred feet of dirt.
"Recess is a time when kids are supposed to be relaxing and using their bodies and not just staring across through a a fence looking at equipment," Kyrene School District spokeswoman Nancy Dudenhoefer said.
This week ADOT plans to cover the fence with tarp to minimize the distractions and dirt.
"It will block the kids from seeing the construction vehicles and the excitement of all that stuff, but I don't think it will help much with the dust and everything," parent Jenny Knudsen said.
A bigger, tarp-covered chain-link fence will be constructed over summer break. Ultimately, a concrete sound wall will be built between the playground and the highway. ADOT also agreed to stop parking construction vehicles behind the school.
"We want to be a community partner," ADOT spokesman Dustin Krugel said. "There are certainly going to be impacts for this project. It's the largest single highway project in Arizona history."
Construction will continue on the freeway until 2019.