With enviro OK, overpass construction slated for 2020

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Construction of an overpass on State Route 347 could begin in 2020 if funding is in place.

That is the result of a finding of “no significant impact” in the final environmental assessment, as announced by the Federal Highway Administration March 18. Now the Arizona Department of Transportation can begin acquiring rights of way and advancing the design “when funding is available.”

The proposed $55 million grade separation on John Wayne Parkway at the Union Pacific Railroad tracks is a partnership among ADOT, UPRR and the City of Maricopa. The city is also responsible for acquiring rights of way.

Last year, the project was moved from ADOT’s 10-year plan to its five-year plan. Over the next three years, $13.3 million is scheduled to be spent on right-of-way acquisitions. This year, $5.5 million is allocated for design as well.

Though ADOT is working off Alternative Design H, any number of factors could cause changes. Once the design reaches 30 percent completion, the alignment is locked in, according to Maricopa Public Works Director Bill Fay. Then the appropriate rights of way can be pursued.

ADOT’s Transportation Facilities Construction Program is allocating $36.2 million for construction in 2020.

According to ADOT, SR 347 carries an average of 34,000 vehicles per day and is anticipated to have 69,000 per day in 2030. At the same time, UPRR averages 40 trains per day through Maricopa and could expand to 100 per day.

Before the construction of the overpass, the project includes relocating the Amtrak station to a city-owned site on Garvey Avenue and consolidating SR 347’s intersections at Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway and Honeycutt Road into one intersection.

ADOT estimates the acquisition of 11 business properties will be necessary: “Businesses operating from these commercial properties will either relocate or close. Based on the results of the business survey, relocation could take as long as one year to accomplish. Properties will be acquired at fair market value pursuant to the requirements of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970.”