Feds approve draft of overpass environment assessment, mayor says

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The Federal Highway Administration has signed off on a draft environment assessment for the State Route 347 overpass project, Mayor Christian Price said at the Nov. 5 Maricopa City Council meeting.

With the approval, the city is hoping to host a Dec. 3 public meeting with the Arizona Department of Transportation, FHWA and city, the mayor said.

That would allow the public to see options for the project and offer comment. 

The overpass would eliminate traffic backups at the Union Pacific Railroad crossing in Maricopa.

Nearly 40,000 cars use SR 347 daily through Maricopa and experience delays because of frequent trains.

Amtrak passenger trains block the crossing as long as 30 minutes.

In other action:
• The council interrupted the meeting for a 40-minute executive session on the east-west transportation corridor. The city, in conjunction with Pinal County and the City of Casa Grande, is evaluating a possible corridor through western Pinal County. Since December 2011, alternatives have been identified between State Route 347 and Interstate 10 to provide easier access and relieve traffic congestion.
• The Gila River Indian Community has approved a $500,000 grant to help build the city’s Emergency Regional Operations Center and Training facility. 
• The city received an award for its Shop Local campaign from the International Economic Development Council, said Micah Miranda, director of Economic Development
• The City Council approved a contract in its Nov. 5 meeting for software from Paladin Data Systems for paperless permitting and plan review systems. The price is not to exceed $75,410.