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SR 347

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ADOT

Drivers who use State Route 347 should plan for an overnight lane closure as Arizona Department of Transportation crews perform pavement-preservation work.

Northbound SR 347 will be narrowed to one lane between Riggs Road and Interstate 10 from 9 p.m. Sept. 13 to 5 a.m. Sept. 14.

ADOT will maintain one lane of travel northbound on SR 347, but delays are possible. Drivers should slow down and use caution around crews and equipment.

Schedules are subject to change based on weather and other unforeseen factors. For more information, please call the ADOT Project Information Line at 855-712-8530 or email Projects@azdot.gov.

ADOT photo

Troopers with the Arizona Department of Safety are investigating the cause of a one-vehicle accident on State Route 347 Tuesday morning.

The rollover crash reportedly occurred Aug. 28 at approximately 8:38 a.m. about a half-mile south of Casa Blanca Road.

“Preliminary information is the female driver of a passenger vehicle lost control of the vehicle, which rolled over and into a fence,” said DPS spokesman Quentin Mehr.

Emergency responders transported the driver to Chandler Regional Hospital. The extent of her injuries is unknown at this time.

Traffic in the area is slowed, but no lane closures are reported.

 

 

ADOT

Pinal County residents have been paying an extra half-cent retail sales tax since April to fund future transportation projects.

Wednesday, a Maricopa County Superior Court Tax Court judge said that violates state law. That puts the breaks on plans to widen State Route 347, at least for the moment.

Now the battle may be fought inside the Arizona Court of Appeals.

Voters narrowly approved Prop 417 in November, the funding mechanism of the Pinal County Regional Transportation Authority’s Prop 416 that would provide a 20-year plan to create and improve roads. That plan seeks to add lanes to SR 347.

Phoenix-based conservative thinktank The Goldwater Institute filed suit in December, challenging the tax’s legality in the case Harold Vangilder, et al. v. Arizona Department of Revenue, et al. Goldwater later motioned the court to delay the collection of the tax.

Judge Christopher Whitten denied the request in March and the tax was implemented April 1. Those funds are held in escrow until the conclusion of the case.

Aug. 2, Whitten ruled the county-wide tax did not coincide with statute as it too narrowly targets a tax on retail and not on all sales tax categories, according to court documents.

The Goldwater Institute applauded Whitten’s most recent decision in a press release published to its website the day of the ruling.

“Thanks to the Court’s decision, Pinal County taxpayers are the real winners today,” Goldwater Institute Vice President for Litigation Timothy Sandefur said. “Had this sales tax gone forward, the damage to taxpayers’ wallets and to economic opportunity in Pinal County would have been immense.”

The Institute claimed the monies collected since April will have to be refunded by the county.

A statement on the Pinal RTA website challenged the judge’s ruling and argued voters knew in November the tax applies to all classifications and not just retail sales. Whitten said the wording of Prop 417 was “insufficient” to establish that.

Pinal RTA indicated the war over the funding may not be over.

“…We disagree with Judge Whitten’s ruling and will consult with outside counsel regarding an appeal to the State Court of Appeals,” according to the Pinal RTA statement.

“I’m disappointed with the ruling, but confident we will win on appeal,” Pinal County Supervisor Anthony Smith said. “The sooner we get this done, the sooner we reduce accidents, save lives and build for the future.”

Requests for comments from Pinal RTA General Manager Andy Smith, Pinal County spokesman Joe Pyritz, Pinal RTA Citizens Advisory Committee Member Tena Dugan, and Mayor Christian Price, who is a Pinal RTA Board Member, were not immediately returned.


This story has been updated to include remarks from Anthony Smith.

ADOT

Drivers on John Wayne Parkway should allow extra travel time this weekend while pavement repairs are made. Arizona Department of Transportation will be making repairs that require narrowing the roadway to one lane in each direction.

The following restrictions are in place between Edison and Smith-Enke roads this weekend:

  • SR 347 will be narrowed to one lane in each direction from at 9 p.m. Aug. 3 to 7 p.m. Aug. 5.
  • Work will occur in the right lane from 9 p.m. Aug. 3 to 7 p.m. Aug. 4.
  • Work will occur in the left lane from 7 p.m. Aug. 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 5.

Crews are scheduled to mill out and replace the pavement in the 2-mile work zone. Schedules are subject to change based on weather and unforeseen factors. ADOT will maintain access to businesses while work is underway.

One of the vehicles involved in a multi-car collision. Photos by Amelia and Daisy Guzman

No serious injuries were reported in a five-vehicle collision on northbound State Route 347.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Quentin Mehr said five people reported very minor injuries and no one was transported to a hospital. Vehicles, however, were transported from the scene.

The incident occurred at 10:28 a.m. at milepost 185 where blowing dust obscured visibility. Traffic was slowed as state troopers and other law enforcement responded to the scene, but the road was not closed.

Blowing dust continues to be an issue between the gravel pit road and Riggs Road, and motorists are urged to drive with caution.

Northbound traffic on SR 347 north of the gravel pit is at a near stand-still as troopers work a five-vehicle crash in the blowing dust. ADOT photo

A multi-vehicle accident on State Route 347 north of the gravel pit stopped northbound traffic this morning.

According to the Department of Public Safety, five vehicles were involved. The incident occurred at milepost 185 at around 10:28 a.m.

“Troopers and emergency personnel are on scene working to clear the road,” said DPS spokesman Quentin Mehr. “At this time, I do not have information on the number of injuries or severity.”

Blowing dust has been affecting the flow of traffic all morning on SR 347, and dust has been particularly heavy in that area.

Southbound traffic is meeting a wall of blowing dust on SR 347. ADOT photo

Three vehicles were involved in a collision Friday afternoon that closed lanes of State Route 347 south of Interstate 10 and sent at least one woman to the hospital.

The accidents occurred around 2:43 p.m. in the southbound lanes when a Ford passenger vehicle “was traveling at a high rate of speed on the shoulder and then spun out striking several other vehicles,” said Bart Graves, Department of Public Safety Spokesman.

One vehicle reportedly rolled over. DPS said at least two people are injured.

A lane in each direction were open as of 3:35 p.m. Southbound lanes opened at 3:47 p.m.

Photo by Brooke Cook

Wild horses temporarily slowed the commute of morning commuters on State Route 347 Thursday.

At least two horses breached the fenced boundary that separates the Gila River herd from the busy roadway, according to witnesses.

Brooke Cook was heading north when she saw the horses crossing the road around 7 a.m. about a half mile south of Riggs Road.

“Traffic was calm, we just patiently waited for them to cross,” Cook said. “It was peaceful almost.”

Another motorist reported seeing a horse on the southbound side of the Gila River Bridge about a half-hour after Cook’s sighting.

A worker was reportedly cutting the fence to help the horse back to safety.

ADOT

 

The Goldwater Institute’s lawsuit against the Pinal Regional Transportation Authority Plan (RTA) is in the hands of a judge as of May 21, and a ruling is expected at the end of June or the beginning of July.

Whatever the outcome, RTA officials are moving forward with preparations to put the voter-approved project in motion. The project includes additional lanes on State Route 347. The half-cent sales tax to pay for the RTA went into effect April 1.

Andy Smith, RTA general manager, said the organization has been working with Maricopa and Casa Grande to seek grant opportunities for the east-west corridor. That four-lane, 21-mile project connecting Maricopa with Interstate 10 in Casa Grande was estimated in the election pamphlet to cost $67.2 million. That has now been refigured to $74 million.

The east-west corridor had been marked for Phase I but is now in Phase III (years 2029-33).

The widening of State Route 347 from Maricopa to the Maricopa County line has seen its estimated cost reduced from $28.8 million to $23 million. That work is slated for 2021-22, Phase I of the RTA.

Smith told the Pinal County Board of Supervisors the RTA is working with Maricopa Association of Governments and Gila Riva Indian Community.

“The RTA has pledged $100,000 to $150,000 to help facilitate funding” to help create a design concept report for SR 347 for the entire stretch from Maricopa to Interstate 10 in Maricopa County, he said, adding the City of Maricopa is part of the discussions as well.

He said the Department of Revenue is two months in arrears on its tax collections. The collections that started in April are held in escrow.

District 4 Supervisor Anthony Smith of Maricopa encouraged RTA officials to start moving as they await the ruling on the Goldwater case.

“Get as many things as shovel-ready as possible, especially the priority-one projects,” he said. “Because hopefully there will be a federal transportation bill that will come at some point or there will be grant opportunities.

“If we are prepared and we’ve got the engineering done and we’ve got maybe some of the right-of-way acquisition – and the more steps we have so that we’re truly shovel-ready – the more we’re going to get mileage out of the money that we put into this.”

Andy Smith said the RTA wants a representative of Arizona Department of Transportation on its board to help with more collaboration. Mayor Christian Price is on the board, Maricopa Public Works Director Bill Fay is on the technical Transportation Advisory Committee. Maricopa’s Tena Dugan and Terri Crain are members of the Citizen Transportation Advisory Committee, answering to the Board of Directors. Dugan chairs the committee.

The RTA includes 15 transportation improvement projects around the county.

PinalRTA.org


This story appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

Two juveniles in a crosswalk were injured Monday when they were struck by a vehicle making a left turn.

According to Maricopa Police Department, the two juveniles had the right of way while crossing State Route 347 on Bowlin Road at around 6:24 p.m. The vehicle, driven by Izmenia Ledezma, was traveling east on Bowlin and turning north onto SR 347.

The juveniles suffered minor injuries, described as scrapes and bruises, but no broken bones. They were transported to a hospital as a precaution.

Ledezma stopped after the collision.

According to MPD, she was cited for failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.

 

Gov. Doug Ducey, running for re-election, addresses the Pinal Partnership. Photo by Michelle Chance

Gov. Doug Ducey highlighted a major project in Maricopa during a Friday morning networking event in Casa Grande.

The discussion happened at The Property Conference Center June 1. The event was hosted by Pinal Partnership.

Ducey said he wants to bring “commitment for resources” toward infrastructure projects in the region like Maricopa’s future State Route 347 overpass.

“State Route 347 (overpass) is going to be traveled every morning and every evening,” Ducey said. “It can use some investment.”

The $55 million project was partially funded from the city, the Arizona Department of Transportation and a $15 million TIGER grant. The grade-separation is projected to transport motorists over the Union Pacific Railroad by 2019.

Ducey’s half-hour long speech touted legislative actions at the state level. On the top of the list were tax cuts and 160,000 new private sector jobs in Arizona since 2015, according to the governor.

“The last time unemployment was this low, you were renting your movies at Blockbuster,” Ducey said.

Education spending was also considered a victory.

Ducey approved funding for a 20 percent salary increase for teachers last month. One percent of that figure was dispersed to districts last school year.

“We just finished one of the most significant Legislative sessions in our state’s history. These are teachers that have earned this pay increase and they deserve it because Arizona children are improving faster in math and reading than any other kids in the country,” Ducey said.

Arizona is working to combat its challenges, according to its highest elected official.

Ducey outlined the state’s plan to combat the opioid addiction crisis that has stricken most of the country.

Tackling Arizona’s portion of the nation’s border security is an issue Ducey said requires a careful balance.

While combating human trafficking, drug cartels and illegal immigration at the Mexico border, Ducey said keeping a positive relationship with Arizona’s No. 1 trade partner is also priority.

“I don’t want to see us build a wall around the economy,” he said.

'Dancing this dance of sensitivity'

ADOT

A joint-litigation attorney for Pinal County Regional Transportation Authority wrote a letter to the Department of Revenue on Wednesday asking when and how the voter-approved half-cent sales tax will be implemented.

The sales tax is the funding mechanism for countywide road improvements, including the widening of State Route 347. RTA-related propositions 416 and 417 were approved in November.

PRTA General Manager Andy Smith told board members Wednesday a response from ADOR is expected by Feb. 5.

A sticking point in the progress of RTA planning is a lawsuit filed by the Goldwater Institute in December challenging the validity of the half-cent sales tax. Goldwater’s attorneys claim Prop 417 exceeds the county authority by taxing only items below $10,000, “creating a new tax classification instead of a variable rate and violates the Equal Protection Clause by taxing transactions below an arbitrary threshold amount but not above that amount.”

The Goldwater Institute is suing Pinal County, PRTA and the Department of Revenue on behalf of two county residents and the Arizona Restaurant Association.

Smith said the respective attorneys “have been having conversations” to create briefs and establish “stipulated facts.”

The PRTA board has hopes for an April 1 implementation of the tax.

Maricopa Mayor Christian Price, a member of the board, explained the challenges of SR 347, both geographically and politically. The main agencies involved in adding lanes to the highway are PRTA, Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), Gila River Indian Community and Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG).

“It’s an incredibly complex road,” Price said. “It’s on Gila River land, it crosses county lines, it’s a state-owned road, it’s the city of Maricopa pushing for it.”

To prevent bottle-neck at the county line, “we need help on the Maricopa County side,” Price said. Maricopa leaders have been in discussions with MAG and Gila River for years. MAG specifically has discussed solutions for problems at interchanges at Riggs Road and old Maricopa Highway (Wild Horse Pass) and the possibility of using MC Prop 400 funds for improvements.

In the ongoing discussions, the sour relationship between Gila River and ADOT is “throwing things out of whack,” Price said. Gila River sued the state in 2015 over the South Mountain Freeway construction.

“MAG is conducting the scoping study, and we’ll kind of leave it in their hands because of the sensitivities,” Price said.

“Obviously, to come up with a fix for you all in Maricopa, that’s going to take Maricopa County to get involved,” county Supervisor Pete Rios said. He warned that often Native American communities are planning “seven generations down the road. We do need to be sensitive to where some of these tribes are coming from.”

Price said he has been working with Gila River Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis for two years. “We’re really trying to dance this dance of sensitivity,” he said.

The RTA plan is to provide $28.8 million over the next five years to fund additional lanes for nine miles of SR 347.


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ADOT

A two-vehicle collision has delayed southbound traffic on State Route 347 at Riggs Road.

The accident occurred Wednesday at 2:25 p.m. between a Nissan sedan and a Jaguar sports car, said Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves.

“At this point it is a serious injury collision at that intersection,” Graves said. “One vehicle may have T-boned the other.”

Emergency crews transported one male driver to the hospital. It is still unknown which vehicle he was driving at this time.

This is a developing story.


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The Highway Patrol will be looking for speeders Wednesday morning.

Department of Public Safety Sgt. Steven Sekrecki said a special detail is planned for 7 a.m. to noon on State Route 347 between Maricopa and Interstate 10. State Troopers will be aided by units from Maricopa Police Department, Sekrecki said, but the number of law enforcement officers has not been announced.

He said DPS warns people ahead of conducting these details because the goal is slowing down traffic rather than ticketing drivers.

North Bound 347 | In Maricopa | Photographer Jonathan Williams

The success of two transportation propositions on Tuesday’s ballot opens “possibilities” for Maricopa, according to Mayor Christian Price, but leadership will be mandatory.

Prop 416 passed by a 6,400-vote margin. Prop 417 passed by a 901-vote margin.

Even if the half-cent sales tax in Prop 417 brings the kind of revenue expected for the Pinal County road improvements connected to Prop 416, the widening of State Route 347 has complications. One of those is the sizable portion of SR 347 in Maricopa County.

“It would be silly to [improve] just part of the road,” Price said. “But we can say we are bringing $30 million to the table.”

The project of adding a lane in each direction is preceded by engineering studies, environmental studies, the National Environmental Policy Act process and design work. Before any of that, a successful project can only start through cooperation with Gila River Indian Community, Arizona Department of Transportation and Maricopa Association of Governments.

Price said they are all “very well aware” of the efforts of the City of Maricopa and Pinal County to take action on SR 347. Procuring funding, he said, was the ignition for starting a project.

There is no guarantee all parties who are impacted by SR 347 will be on board with any project moving forward.

“That’s the trick of voter referendum,” Price said. “You can’t make them do something.”

The mayor, however, sees it as an opportunity for officials in both counties to show cooperation, investment and leadership. That, Price said, could set them up for another federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. A TIGER grant was crucial for the overpass project in Maricopa.

A TIGER grant is the opportunity for millions more in funding for road widening, drainage or even an overpass, Price said. The federal grant also puts a tight timeline on projects it funds.

An outspoken opponent of prop 416 and 417 sees darker opportunities wrought by the passage of the measures, however.

“The narrow passing of Prop 417 represents a big win for special interest, bloated bureaucracy and prime opportunities to misuse taxpayer money,” said Alan Marchione, a former city councilmember in Maricopa. “A lawsuit is sure to follow, as the structure of the tax is not legal under existing state statute, whereas the county cannot set an arbitrary cap on the uniform implementation of sales tax. The county knew this, and proceeded anyhow. This exudes poor ethics and professionalism on the part of Pinal County supervisors.”

Marchione said while the county needs improved infrastructure, but these propositions were not the answer.

“The plan for Maricopa’s SR 347 is limited in its vision towards a long-term solution for improving traffic flow,” he said.

The 18 proposed projects included in the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) plan include three in the Maricopa area. The SR 347 project is widening nine miles of highway for $28.8 million. That is slated for Phase 1 of the RTA.

The second Maricopa-related project is the East-West Corridor. That is the widening of Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway from Maricopa to Val Vista Road, and then widening that road and making it a straight shot to Interstate 10 north of Casa Grande.

A third project south of Maricopa is the creation of a West Pinal Freeway. That new roadway would carry westbound traffic off of Interstate 8 at Casa Grande, north on Montgomery Road and then west on a new road north of and parallel with Highway 84 before turning north into Maricopa County.

Other projects around the county include improvements on SR 287 and Selma Highway and new north-south roadways. Price said if officials cannot make progress in improving SR 347, the money will be turned over to other Maricopa road projects.

The anticipated revenue from Prop 417 is $640 million.

“We appreciate voters taking this step with us to improve it,” Steve Miller, chairman of the Yes on Propositions 416 and 417 campaign, said in a statement Thursday. “More jobs, better public safety, safer roads and an enhanced quality of life will be the result.

“It was a robust debate over the past couple of months. The many voices should be commended for weighing in. We hope all will now be respectful of the will of our more than 40,000 people that cast ballots.”

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More than a decade of rush-hour congestion on SR 347 caused many Maricopa residents to vote in favor of the county's RTA this week.

With all ballots in, Propositions 416 and 417 appear to have succeeded with Pinal County voters.

The unofficial results from Tuesday’s election show Prop 416, the county’s Regional Transportation Authority, receiving 57 percent approval. It was a tougher battle for Prop 417, which was the funding mechanism for Prop 416. The Yes votes currently lead 50.97 percent to 49.03 percent, a difference of 901 votes.

“What has impressed me is that the City of Maricopa precincts and those in San Tan Valley are pretty much carrying the county,” Supervisor Anthony Smith said.

For Prop 417, the Maricopa Fiesta precinct was most typical of the incorporated community. Those voters approved the half-cent sales tax by 59 percent.

The RTA includes road improvements and new road construction all over the county. Phase 1 includes the planned widening of State Route 347 from four lanes to six lanes up to the county line as well as an east-west corridor.

Smith called it the election “one of the most important votes that Pinal County will have for several years or maybe generations.”

Pinal County reported voter turnout of 24 percent for the mail-in election.

A freight train rolls across SR 347, delaying traffic in a familiar scene for Maricopans. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

A formal groundbreaking for the construction of an overpass on State Route 347 across the Union Pacific Railroad tracks will take place Nov. 20. A ceremony is set at 10 a.m. at the northeast corner of John Wayne Parkway and Honeycutt Road.

Coming in more than $5 million under project estimates, Ames Construction was chosen as the general contractor to build the overpass and realign local streets. Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman Tom Hermann said the work will begin within 60 days of Ames being selected, which occurred Sept. 15.

Based in Scottsdale, Ames has 750 days to complete the project. Its winning bid was $23.1 million. The City of Maricopa is contributing almost $14 million to the project, which has a total estimate of $55 million.

The first construction is expected to take place away from the current roadway.

“The early stages of the project will mean few, if any, traffic restrictions,” Hermann said. “Most of the work will be done in the future path of SR 347, east of the current alignment. We recognize the importance of both SR 347 and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway, and we’ll work to keep any restrictions to a minimum.”

The project will create a six-lane overpass from Hathaway Avenue south to Desert Cedars Drive. It includes the realignment of Honeycutt Road, Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway and Honeycutt Avenue.

 


A version of this story appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

Two people dies in the crash last week on SR 347 north of Riggs Road. Photo by Donna Atkins

The Department of Public Safety said a Maricopa woman was one of two people killed after a deadly three-car-collision on State Route 347 last week.

Gail Gutierrez, 65, of Maricopa, and Glendale resident Barry Kimura, 66, died at the hospital Oct. 18 from injuries sustained in the accident, DPS Spokesman Quentin Mehr said.

A 50-year-old Maricopa woman driving a Toyota pickup was transported to the hospital and treated for minor injuries.

The accident occurred on southbound SR 347, north of the Riggs Road intersection at 1:14 p.m. Oct. 18.

“At that time a Kia passenger vehicle driven by (Gutierrez), and a Toyota pickup, driven by a 50-year-old female from Maricopa, were in the inside lane on southbound SR 347, slowing from traffic ahead of them,” Mehr said. “A Toyota passenger vehicle, driven by (Kimura), failed to slow for the traffic and struck the Kia and Toyota pickup.”

DPS previously said Kimura was not wearing a seat belt and suffered major head trauma.

The accident shut down the roadway for hours while authorities investigated the scene.

 

Department of Public Safety pulled over 67 commercial vehicles for inspections during a Wednesday morning detail on State Route 347 and Highway 84.

Seventy violations were found, only five of which were for speeding. Four vehicles were taken out of service, as was one driver. An arrest was made on a warrant for a misdemeanor.

State Troopers were specifically targeting trucks after getting complaints from residents and dangerous driver behavior. However, they did make one stop of a non-commercial vehicle.

The detail ran from 7 a.m. to noon in the vicinities of Maricopa and Stanfield.

The view north of John Wayne Parkway from Edison Road camera installed by ADOT.

Cameras the Arizona Department of Transportation uses to monitor State Route 347 traffic between the city of Maricopa and Interstate 10 now allow drivers to view conditions themselves via az511.gov.

Nine high-definition cameras mounted on traffic signals are available through the Arizona Traveler Information site, showing intersections from Riggs Road to the north to Farrell Road to the south.

“ADOT is always looking to improve traffic flow and safety,” ADOT traffic engineer Mark Poppe said. “Giving everyone access to the Maricopa cameras allows motorists to see traffic along SR 347 firsthand and make more-informed travel decisions.”

The SR 347 intersections are Riggs Road, Gravel Pit, Casa Blanca Road, Cobblestone North, Edison Road, Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway, Honeycutt Avenue, Alterra Parkway and Farrell Road. The Honeycutt Avenue camera currently shows on the map incorrectly located at Honeycutt Road.

In 2016, ADOT installed a wireless communication system that monitors conditions on SR 347 and allows technicians in Phoenix to adjust signal timing accordingly. The system includes a series of infrared and video cameras, and the latter are now available to the public online.

Besides showing road conditions, traffic cameras are used to quickly spot crashes, allowing first responders to respond faster and allocate appropriate resources. By doing this, secondary crashes are reduced, along with traffic congestion.

ADOT maintains more than 300 traffic cameras across the state.

SR 347 at Casa Blance
SR 347 at gravel pit

Police said a nude, 22-year-old man was taken to a hospital last week after he was seen running on State Route 347.

Gila River Police Department spokesperson Caroline Brown said officers made contact with the man July 14 at approximately 7:25 p.m. near milepost 179.

“He was turned over to medics on scene and transported to a local hospital for a psychological evaluation,” Brown said.

Gila River Police did not release the name of the man, but photos taken by drivers were posted to social media that night.

The photos show the nude man running barefoot on the asphalt.

Brown said the police report did not provide any information on whether the man gave statements to responding officers as to his motivation.

“No charges were filed against him due to his mental status,” Brown added.

The Department of Public Safety also received reports from concerned callers at 7:15 Friday night.

“As units were responding they were advised that a subject helped the man onto the right shoulder of the road,” said Quentin Mehr, DPS spokesman.

Mehr said DPS was in route to the scene when they were notified Gila River PD was taking over the case.

Arizona Department of Transportation

The Arizona Department of Transportation is reporting northbound lanes on SR 347 are now open after being closed for more than an hour due to a multi-car accident near Riggs Road.

Unconfirmed reports from bystanders indicate multiple vehicles were involved in the accident including a motorcycle, pick-up truck and semitrailer.

There are no confirmed injuries or fatalities at this time.

Updates will be made to this story as more information becomes available.

 

The Maricopa Police Department has forwarded charges against the drivers involved in a highly-publicized, road-rage incident that occurred Monday on John Wayne Parkway and Smith-Enke Road.

The charges against motorists Holden Elsea and James Kingery include disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace, said MPD Spokesman Ricardo Alvardo.

“The incident resulted in Elsea being struck in the face by Kingery and his driver-side window broken to his vehicle,” Alvarado said. “Elsea then damaged Kingery’s vehicle by striking the rear window with a tire iron.”

The incident was recorded on a cell phone and later posted to social media.

Alvarado said MPD decided to forward charges based on the facts and circumstances of the case “and after reviewing video of the incident.”

The disorderly conduct charges resulted from “engaging in fighting or seriously disruptive behavior which resulted in obstructing the flow of traffic on a highway,” Alvarado said.

MPD said the second charges were brought about after the men allegedly “disturb(ed) the peace of several citizens, who called and reported the incident.”

Alvarado said both men are aware of the pending charges against them.

The charges will be forwarded to the City Prosecutor’s Office for review and charging on behalf of the state of Arizona, Alvarado said.

“MPD wants to remind the motoring public, driving can be dangerous and motorists should use patience and their better judgement while driving. This case proves actions like this will not be tolerated and could lead to serious charges or worse yet, a serious accident and harm to other motorists,” Alvarado said.

 What appears to be an act of road rage was caught on camera Monday afternoon in Maricopa.

Maricopa resident Nathan Corp filmed the incident on his phone around 4 p.m. at the intersection of Smith-Enke Road and John Wayne Parkway.

“As I was pulling up to where they were stopped, the gentleman in the sedan came to a full stop, jumped out of his car, punched out the window of the SUV and started to punch the driver in the face,” Corp said.

Corp then shared the footage on social media.

The video shows the driver of a dark sedan get back into his vehicle which is parked in the left-hand turn lane of the intersection. The driver of the white SUV proceeds to exit his car, parked adjacently, and strikes the back glass of the sedan, shattering it.

Following the damage, both drivers re-enter their vehicles and head south on John Wayne Parkway.

“I don’t know what brought them to that point though. I didn’t see them driving recklessly or anything like that,” Corp said.

 Maricopa Police Department Spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said MPD is currently responding to the case.

“It was just reported to us so I have no information as of yet,” Alvarado said.

 

State Troopers passed out 54 traffic citations Friday evening during a special detail on State Route 347 north of Maricopa.

According to Highway Patrol Sgt. Steven Sekrecki, 35 of the citations were for speeding. The detail, which targeted speeding and aggressive drivers, operated for four hours during what is typically rush hour for southbound traffic.

Sekrecki said four citations were issued for non-moving violations such as registration and insurance. Troopers also investigated a noninjury collision.

The Department of Public Safety was assisted on the detail by Maricopa Police Department.

 

In the latest of a series of special details the Arizona Department of Public Safety has been conducting on State Route 347 this year, State Troopers will be focusing on speeders and aggressive drivers this week.

Sgt. Steven Sekrecki said the detail will run Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. to caution rush-hour traffic. He said DPS warns people ahead of conducting these details because the goal is slowing down traffic rather than ticketing drivers.

DPS will have four troopers and a sergeant on patrol in the area. Other agencies may also assist.

A special detail from the Department of Public Safety made 112 traffic stops on State Route 347 Wednesday morning.

Of those, 90 resulted in speeding citations, according to Sgt. Steven Sekrecki. Two people were cited for not having children in car seats, and four others were cited for “non-hazardous” violations such as insurance or registration issues.

The detail involved four state troopers, two officers from Gila River Police Department and one Maricopa police officer.

Sekrecki said DPS warns people ahead of conducting these details because the goal is slowing down traffic, rather than ticketing drivers.

“It allows those people who might normally speed let themselves know to slow down,” Sekrecki said. “And we let people know so there’s not a big surprise when they see us out there en masse.”

Wednesday’s detail was in operation from 7 a.m. to noon.

Click photo for larger image

Do you want lanes added to State Route 347?

An open house on Pinal County’s Regional Transportation Authority is set for Maricopa City Hall on May 2. The open house will show participants what roads are slated to be built with the RTA funding, if approved by Pinal County voters this fall.

The event is an addition to other open houses planned by Central Arizona Governments (CAG) and Pinal County to get public feedback. County officials have been working for months to get the RTA on a ballot. It is now set for a November election.

The Pinal RTA would seek a half-cent sales tax to improve transportation options for drivers in Pinal County.

The proposed plan focuses on roadway development, public transportation improvements, and local transportation project funding for the towns of Kearny, Mammoth and Superior, and the city of Eloy.  Some of the proposed roadway improvements include widening State Route 347 north of the city of Maricopa to the Pinal-Maricopa County boundary, constructing the North-South Corridor that would ultimately connect U.S. 60 with Interstate 10, and extending State Route 24 into Pinal County.

Projections over 20 years predict the RTA could bring in $650 million in revenue targeted directly for Pinal County roads.

The open house in Maricopa is from 4 to 6 p.m. in the lobby at City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza.
Those unable to attend can review information on the proposed regional plan and tax at CAG’s website at: http://www.cagaz.org/rta.html.  To participate in the on-line survey regarding the proposed regional plan and tax, you may visit Pinal County’s website.
For additional information on the proposed plan you can contact:
Andy Smith at andrew.smith@pinalcountyaz.gov, (520) 509-3555,
Kathy Borquez at kathy.borquez@pinalcountyaz.gov, (520) 509-3555 or
Andrea Robles, Interim Executive Director, Central Arizona Governments at arobles@cagaz.org, (480) 474-9300.