Green Road Hogenes Dairy UPRR
A Union Pacific train passes on the railroad tracks at West Garvey Avenue and North Green Road. A "ring road" proposed for this area would likely include the city's second overpass over the tracks. Photo by Bob McGovern

Improving transportation flow and relieving traffic congestion was on the minds of city officials during a recent planning session.

One priority is a nearly two-mile-long, east-west thoroughfare that would be constructed between State Route 347 and Porter Road, primarily along the Farrell Road alignment.

“This will ultimately be four lanes,” city manager Rick Horst said. “We’re debating whether this needs to be a parkway per se, meaning six lanes at some future date.”

The City continues to evaluate the configuration of the proposed highway and will have to decide if six lanes on that stretch makes sense if there are only four lanes to the east.

The corridor would feature several signalized intersections and include a four-lane corridor connecting the east-west route with Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. That span would include an elevated bridge over the Santa Rosa Wash. Horst said the project would cost about $25 million, which would be paid by impact fees charged to developers.

That project would be part of Pinal County’s plans for an East-West Corridor connecting SR-347 in Maricopa to I-10 in Casa Grande.

John Wayne Parkway bears the brunt of the city’s traffic, but plans are under consideration to help alleviate congestion during busy times.

On the west side of town, Horst indicated Green Road could be used to develop a “ring road” to move traffic off John Wayne Parkway. Its alignment is important as an overpass would be needed over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, he said.

The developer of homes at Hogenes Farms Dairy, southwest of Green and McDavid roads, would construct the overpass, but would need to build a number of homes before the overpass.

“If you ask them originally to build an overpass before they build any homes, they’re just going to walk away,” he said.

That project would be part of a larger concept to create a “ring road” network around the city, moving truck traffic off John Wayne Parkway. As part of that vision, Green Road would be extended to the north, with that northern section of the road turning east about a quarter mile to half-mile north of the northern border of Cobblestone Farms, then tying into State Route 347. That section of new road would include buffers, setbacks and other noise mitigators in the neighborhood.

“Those neighbors who live near 347 will benefit because it’s not really the car traffic. It’s the big trucks, grinding gears, slowing down, air brakes, all those kinds of things,” he said.

Horst received the go-ahead from council to budget “dollars and people resources” to start working with Gila River Indian Community on the plan. He said funding for the west side projects would come from developers.

“We’re collecting the regular impact fee plus a special extra fee they’ve agreed to,” he said. “This will help fund not all of it, but a portion of the design and preliminary engineering and some of the construction costs. And then of course we’ll build it two lanes at first, then as growth continues, go to four lanes.”

When finished, Green Road would tie into McDavid Road, where it would benefit residents of McDavid Estates, a new subdivision going up between North Loma Road and the railroad tracks.

“So now again, we have a nice loop opportunity that free-flows traffic in a lot of different directions,” Horst said. “Eventually there are going to be commercial hubs everywhere, and traffic will redirect.”

Proposed Green Road Overpass
As proposed, a section of the “ring road” in northwest part of the city would run along Green Road at Hogenes Dairy and carry traffic over the Union Pacific tracks via an overpass. Maricopa Meadows can be seen at top right. GoogleEarth image

The biggest idea, although probably the least likely at least in the short term, was a light-rail system between Maricopa and the Valley.

“We need to get this on our radar screen,” Horst said. “People in the Valley want to get us up there and will need a way to get us there, especially as we grow and the $400 million we spend there would go up to $600 or $800 million. And especially when they know we don’t have to go up there because we’ll have more (shopping opportunities) down here. This could go right down the center of 347, maybe with a couple of stops, perhaps one at Riggs Road.”

Mayor Christian Price shares Horst’s big vision.

“The key here is that this is truly dreaming big,” he said. “I don’t think it’s happening tomorrow. But as the development continues on the south side of GRIC (Gila River Indian Community) near their soccer stadium that’s going up (for the Phoenix Rising pro club) and the cities grow closer together, then we’ll generate interest from MAG (Maricopa Association of Governments) because it will be more of a regional issue than two individual city issues.”