An overpass in Maricopa will be more than an overpass – at least in terms of strategy.
The future grade-separation project at the State Route 347/Union Pacific Railroad crossing is actually three projects in one. The city of Maricopa is responsible for one of the primary elements, and the Arizona Department of Transportation is responsible for the other two sections, though they coordinate efforts.
1. Relocation of Amtrak Station
This effort is under design by the city. The Design Concept Report estimated the project will cost $4.64 million. The station is to be moved up the tracks less than a mile, northwest to Estrella Gin property.
The relocation will involve constructing a station building and associated structures, adding rail siding and creating drainage. City officials have been studying historical photographs and examples from other cities regarding the possible aesthetics of the building.
Concurrently, the relocation will also bring about moving a large object to the new site – the historic Zephyr train car, which belongs to Pinal County and is under the auspices of the Maricopa Historical Society.
2. Realignment of local streets
The overpass project will require realignment of streets on both sides of SR 347 and on both sides of the tracks.
“ADOT will work closely with the city and be responsible for reaching out to residents and property owners in the area,” ADOT Senior Community Relations Officer Paki Rico said.
Involved roadways on this part of the project are Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway and Honeycutt Road on east of SR 347 near Maricopa Unified School District offices, and Honeycutt Avenue and Edwards Avenue on the west side near Maricopa High School. The improvements will extend the road next to the MUSD transportation department on Honeycutt Road all the way through to MCG Highway.
“We have known about this plan for years, and when our two facilities in the area were built we planned for this realignment,” MUSD Superintendent Steve Chestnut said. “We know this realignment will greatly improve the flow of traffic in Maricopa and we do not foresee any problems.”
ADOT is responsible for this element of the project. Paki said the estimated cost is $11.2 million if the street realignments are part of the overpass project and not an independent project.
3. Realignment of SR 347 and construction of roadway over UPRR tracks
The overpass is, of course, the meat of the project. The estimated cost of realigning SR 347 between Hathaway Avenue on the north and Alterra Parkway on the south plus building the overpass is $39.1 million, which is ADOT’s responsibility. Paki said that estimate is contingent upon the overpass being in the same project as the city street realignments.
Once ADOT reaches 30 percent completion on its design for this primary element of the project (possibly this year), the city of Maricopa can determine which properties will be in the path of the project and need to be acquired for demolition.
This story appeared in the February issue of InMaricopa News.