Final state budget has more than $65M for 347 upgrades 

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Traffic congestion on State Route 347. [File]

The Arizona Legislature passed the state’s budget for the coming year Thursday, and it contains good news for anyone who travels State Routes 347 and 238. 

The legislators have allocated a total of more than $66 million for work on the two highways, nearly all of it dedicated to improvements on SR 347. 

The largest piece of the funding is $35 million for the Riggs Road overpass carried over from the previous budget. The new funding includes: 

  • $19 million for design of the widening of SR 347; 
  • An additional $11.375 million in inflationary costs for construction of the Riggs overpass; 
  • $800,000 to design improvements to SR 238 west of Maricopa. 

Benjamin Bitter, Maricopa’s deputy city manager, told InMaricopa when a version of the budget leaked recently that the Riggs Road overpass is the Arizona Department of Transportation’s first priority. 

“The Riggs Road interchange will be in the first phase of improvements of the SR-347 widening project,” Bitter said. “ADOT currently has it listed on their Active Project List for Construction in 2025.” 

In addition, Mayor Christian Price announced at Tuesday’s city council meeting that the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Council has accepted the SR-347 Scoping Study which was recently completed. That study will provide an outline of how various agencies will proceed on improvements for the heavily traveled highway. 

The study provides detailed cost estimates for design, right-of-way and construction developed in September 2021 that should generally reflect current prices. It also provides an implementation plan that highlights prioritization and time frames for completion of various segments. 

While SR 347 is the city’s top transportation priority, Bitter said the City and the Pinal Regional Transportation Authority are working on several highway and traffic solutions, including resurrecting Proposition 417, the funding mechanism for Pinal County roads struck down earlier this year by the Arizona Supreme Court. 

“We remain active participants in the PRTA, and anticipate that the Pinal County Board of Supervisors will soon authorize language to be placed on the November ballot, which would fund the improvements listed in the Regional Transportation Plan,” Bitter said. 

“This includes tens of millions of dollars dedicated to improvements along SR-347, and tens of millions of additional dollars for the city’s secondary access, the Sonoran Desert Parkway. Funds would also be reserved for the preservation of the right-of-way for the future I-11.