An infrastructure project 15 years in the making finally broke ground Monday morning.
City officials broke ground for the overpass at State Route 347 and the Union Pacific Railroad crossing.
A who’s who of Maricopa leadership came out to a vacant lot on John Wayne Parkway and Honeycutt Road, property that will be beneath the future overpass, to witness the ceremonial launch of the historical event.
“When we’re here today on this momentous and historic day, it’s not because we just decided that yesterday we needed an overpass and we just finally got around to doing it,” said Mayor Christian Price speaking to a sizeable crowd. “It’s because it’s been in the works for 15 years.”
Along with city council members and staff, Price also reunited with the city’s former leaders to break ground on the State Route 347 overpass above the Union Pacific Rail Road crossing.
Former Mayors Edward Farrell, Kelly Anderson and Anthony Smith attended the groundbreaking.
Price honored his predecessors with a gift for their contributions to the overpass.
“I think this goes way, way back to probably August of 2003 when Mayor Farrell formed the committee to incorporate because if we hadn’t taken the step to incorporate we would not be here because we didn’t have the political clout to do this,”
Farrell is the first mayor of Maricopa. He led the once-small town toward cityhood over 15 years ago.
I think it’s awesome, as Kelly can agree with me because we were here from day one, and at day one that overpass was a priority. For the mayors that follow after us to take it where we left off – Mayor Smith starting it in 2008 – and Mayor Price to take it from third-base-to-home, he did an outstanding job. It’s a very special day,” Farrell said.
Smith, now a Pinal County supervisor said the overpass is one step in a long line of upcoming improvements to the 347.
“This is kind of a warm up for really where we are heading in the future, so I know it’s difficult, but we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Smith said.
City leaders braced residents to be patient with the project’s related traffic delays. Construction is slated to being by Nov. 25. Until then, Price said it’s time to celebrate.
“Congratulations, we’re getting an overpass,” he said.