ADOT is using an agricultural motif in its design for the overpass. Bryon Joyce (right) was among P&Z commissioners who eyed the proposed design Monday.

Visions of rivets and cotton blossoms may be dancing before Maricopans’ eyes soon.

Design concepts for the upcoming overpass on State Route 347 have been making the rounds through Maricopa officials. Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) designers are trying to incorporate symbols of the area into the bridge, piers and roadside.

That includes images of cotton, corn, crop rows, wheat sheaves and scythes, plus visual elements of the old water tower and the railroad.

The Maricopa Development Services Department took the ADOT concepts before the Heritage District Citizen Advisory Committee, the Planning & Zoning Commission and a portion of the city council. Senior Planner Rodolfo Lopez said it was giving the officials a heads-up on the direction of the motifs.

Lopez said one of the design goals is to make the overpass aesthetically pleasing. It minimizes the number of panels but leaves room for public art.

Officials, however, are afraid graffiti artists might think that includes them.

P&Z Commissioner Bob Marsh said the overpass will be “a good target for tagging.” He said the city needs to be able to clean up any defacement quickly and cheaply. Commissioner Linda Huggins said it was “screaming target.”

Lopez said the pattern was meant to deter the idea of a blank canvas.

Huggins also said she did not like the number of cotton blossoms initially designed on the wall, a complaint that echoed feedback from councilmembers. Lopez said that was part of the commentary he would relay to ADOT.

“I like the idea of adding texture to the MSE (mechanically stabilized earth) panels, but has there been any thought if they need to replace a panel?” Commissioner Bryon Joyce asked. He is a new member of the commission and an architectural designer. “They are basically anchored together.”

Lopez said such questions would be taken back to ADOT.

The overpass essentially belongs to ADOT, which is responsible for its maintenance.

When Lopez spoke about being able to change out lights under the bridge for special events, the commission questioned if Maricopa was allowed to do that.

The highway over the bridge will include room for a bike lane but not the markings, at this point. However, there will be a grade-level crossing for bicycles and pedestrians. Several Maricopa High School students must cross the tracks to go to school, and not all of them drive cars.

“I can’t see kids going up and over the bridge when they can go down and around,” Huggins said.

About 60 percent of the design of the grade separation to lift SR 347 over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks has been completed. Groundbreaking is tentatively scheduled for September.