347 Traffic
Heavy traffic backups on State Route 347 is a major headache for Maricopa commuters. [ADOT]

Raise your hand if you’re sick of the traffic delays coming into town on State Route 347 Friday afternoons. Okay, that’s everyone.

Maricopans have been experiencing longer than usual waits coming into the city on SR 347 over the last couple of weeks. And while this is something drivers are used to seeing during traditional commuting hours, many were surprised to run into miles-long backups early in the afternoon.

According to city spokesman Quinn Konold, the city’s Digital Communications Manager, there are many reasons for the delays.

“There are a number of contributing factors including shifting holiday schedules and more drivers on the road as Covid restrictions ease and our population increases,” he said. “All of this ran up against the John Wayne Beautification Project, an investment project designed to make our city more attractive to future residents and developers that’s already paying dividends.”

Konold said at this stage of the median project, which is scheduled for completion in February, crews are working on electrical improvements at the city’s north end. Safety regulations require them to install barricades and reduce traffic from two lanes down to one at that portion of SR 347 north of Lake View Drive. In order to lower costs, the city agreed to have the work done between the hours of 5 a.m. and 3 p.m. So, while the barricades are down well ahead of the peak afternoon commute hours, the traffic built up hours earlier and takes a significant amount of time to dissipate.

One improvement coming in the new year is that barricades will be removed at noon on Fridays rather than 3 p.m. and there will be no work north of Smith-Enke until work resumes in the new year.

Konold said they are also making other adjustments.

“For the next two weeks they will only have temporary lane closures between Smith-Enke and Honeycutt eliminating the reduction to just one lane as you enter Maricopa. We hope that will alleviate some of the congestion,” he said. “The city is working with the contractor and ADOT to come up with other workable solutions on traffic control north of Smith-Enke to complete this project on time and within budget.”

Konold added that this temporary traffic situation has thrust some issues regarding the growth of Maricopa to the forefront with city leaders.

“The reality is traffic will continue to be a challenge, as is has for years on the 347, until we can do something about it,” Konold said. “The paradox is that our ability to build the infrastructure to accommodate a larger population only increases as that population arrives. That’s because the state prioritizes our road projects as the population grows, which is why city leaders are highly motivated in preparing for growth and creating long-term solutions.”

There are going to be growing pains, Konold acknowledged, saying most of those who have lived in Maricopa for a significant time remember what life was like before the overpass was built.

“One simple project transformed this city, and more solutions are not far off,” he said.

One such solution is the SR 347 scoping study currently underway. He encouraged the public to provide input into the study, which will explore the avenues for widening SR 347 and construction of an overpass at Riggs Road over SR 347.

Another project that could alleviate traffic congestion in the long term is the new Sonoran Desert Parkway, formerly known as the East-West Corridor, which is beginning construction on its initial leg in January.

Konold said all this is a situation in which short-term pain will outweigh the long-term gains.

“We know the rewards of all these investments will be well worth the sacrifices we make as Maricopa grows,” he said. “We implore your patience and also invite your feedback as we build this city together. Remember that your city leaders live in this community, enduring the same challenges and celebrating the same victories. They love this city and are committed to seeing families and industry thrive.”


  1. “347 median project creating traffic problems”…there I fixed it for you. A digital communications manager responding for a traffic problem? Seriously? Are the rest of you sleepy Maricopa residents paying attention yet?????