Residents of one Ahwatukee neighborhood are wondering if a recent rise in bobcat sightings has anything to do with the construction of the new South Mountain Freeway.
People who live in the area of 29th Avenue and Chandler Boulevard have been complaining about the noise the new freeway would bring for years. But now that it's almost done, a new problem might be wandering into the neighborhood.
Tannis Land has a frequent feline visitor in the wash behind her backyard. She said it doesn’t shock her, but bobcat sightings aren’t normal.
"This is their home. It's a first for me," Land said.
She wonders why, after more than a decade living here, are bobcats showing up almost daily.
"You have the mountains right behind you and with the freeway going in I'm sure they are more or less trapped right now," Land said.
There’s a brand new wall dividing Land's neighborhood from the South Mountain Freeway which is set to open sometime in 2020.
About a year ago, animals could walk freely through the area, but not anymore.
"Pretty sure they did build a wildlife pass for the animals to go back and forth," Land said.
The Arizona Department of Transportation said in a statement that the "design includes underpasses between 51st Avenue and 32nd Lane that will accommodate wildlife as well as hikers, bikers, and horseback riders."
Some neighbors wonder if the wildlife is feeling confused or possibly trapped in the neighborhoods by the tall freeway walls.
"I think with all the noise they are kind of trapped right here, but this is their home," Camille Gillihan, a homeowner in the area, said. "It would make sense for them to come into this neighborhood and be confused as to where to go."
Gillihan said when the walls went up she noticed more wildlife.
"Definitely. Tarantulas, snakes in the road, definitely more scorpions," Gillihan said. "Time will tell. I don't know what this freeway is going to bring and what it's going to eliminate."