By Raquel Hendrickson and Bob McGovern
Traffic is rolling on Bowlin.
A stretch of thoroughfare opened Thursday has residents in the eastern part of town driving with a smile.
Motorists hailed the newly-paved road between the Santa Cruz Wash and White and Parker Road, saying it would save them much time and frustration getting to Walmart or the schools on Porter Road.
“I love it!” said Erica Turner, who has lived in Sorrento for about a year. “I can literally get to Walmart in three to four minutes.”
That trip to the big-box store would take as much as 15 minutes previously and require cutting through the Rancho Mirage development, said Turner, as she left her neighborhood for the trip west along the 35 mph stretch of Bowlin Road.
Jackie Jenkins of Sorrento mentioned the quick trip to the retailer as well.
“It will get me to Walmart a little faster,” she said, adding that she was “worried a bit about the traffic.”
The project, begun in early July and completed this week, included paving the 1.2-mile dirt road and a building a crossing over the Santa Cruz Wash. Combined with the new traffic signal at White and Parker Road and Honeycutt Road, it may alleviate some rush-hour traffic jams. The roadwork was paid for with nearly $1 million in Highway User Revenue funds.
The long-range Area Transportation Plan sees a four-lane arterial between Hartman and White and Parker by 2030.
“This is a major victory from our streets team that moved this project along,” Mayor Christian Price said in a city announcement of the opening. “This will be a much-needed connection corridor for the east side of Maricopa.”
The wash crossing was considered vital for public-safety access to the eastside subdivisions. Fire, police and medical personnel previously had to drive miles around to reach homes.
Bowlin is a four-lane road, except for the new two-lane stretch. At the east end, it runs between Sorrento on the southside and Rancho Mirage Estates on the northside and is fronted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Maricopa Fire Station 572 between Anthony Boulevard and Hartman Road.
At the western end of the new roadway, at White and Parker, the new municipal library is rising quickly. Across White and Parker, Bowlin runs west to Porter Road and includes the campuses of Central Arizona College campus and Legacy Traditional School.
“Thank God for that road,” said Matt Stewart as he returned to Sorrento over Bowlin on Friday morning. “It will make a world of difference.”
He said it would shave 15-20 minutes off his trip to Legacy Traditional, where his children attend school.
“We like it, we really do,” said Vanessa Mendoza from her spot behind the steering wheel. She said her children also attend schools at the western end of Bowlin. “It saves a lot of time.”
As happy as another Sorrento resident was about the Bowlin upgrade, he already has another project in mind for the city.
“I love it, it’s awesome,” said Randall Neilson, an eight-year resident of the old section of Sorrento who lives on the perimeter of the development. “It’s a good investment.”
But Neilson added quickly that the dust is “terrible” along Hartman Road and blows into the neighborhood along its eastern border.
“They need to fix that dirt road next,” he said.