Maricopa resident Derek Chin asks George Froehlich of EPS-Group a question about the plans. Photo by Tyler Loveall

Eager to see what changes have been made to the plan for an overpass across the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, around 200 residents attended a public information meeting July 14.

Click here for the ADOT slideshow presentation.

Hosted by the Arizona Department of Transportation in the board meeting room at Maricopa Unified School District, the meeting provided details on a new alignment.

Just as he did in the last formal public meeting in 2014, consultant Elijah Williams of EPS Group walked attendees through the changes and took questions.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen a turnout like this at one of these meetings,” he said.

Williams said ADOT tried to respond to earlier concerns expressed about the earlier version, which would have razed the First Baptist Church and forced the Amtrak station to move. The new alignment avoids both of those scenarios.

It also avoids going over the top of the NAPA store, but leaving the building standing may cause even more problems for the owner. Tena Dugan was trying to find options for moving her store, which the old alignment plan would have destroyed. The new alignment wraps around the property.

Now she feels like she’s in limbo again until she can get answers about access.

“They took all that access on the front side. That’s my front door,” she said.

Putting an entry door on another side would be impossible without razing the 50-year-old building.

“I’ve never been against the overpass. This has to be done. I think this makes perfect sense,” she said of the overall concept. “It doesn’t make sense to leave my one building there when they’ve taken all of the side and all of the front.”

The new plan does wipe out the current site of F.O.R. Maricopa, the local food bank, something Wendy Webb saw in the cards. She has already been looking for a new location.

The new alignment changes the intersection with Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. What the old plan had essentially made a one-way, southbound exit that looped under the overpass is now a two-way road. It provides access to businesses on the west side of SR 347, though northbound traffic will apparently have to make a U-turn at Hathaway Avenue to reach such businesses as The New HQ.

Because the road is now two-way under the overpass, another dramatic change in the plan is the realignment of traffic flow from MCG Highway. The traffic will still use a new road next to MUSD to reach Honeycutt Road and then turn west to access the overpass. That road, however, will cut through the lawn portion of Rotary Park while avoiding the pool.

Access off of MCG to Pershing Street or to the Amtrak station will be as it is now.

Unless they use Bowling Road, residents who live south of the railroad tracks and wish to access MCG Highway must exit on Honeycutt Road and then turn back south on the new road.

Public comments are being sought through Aug. 15. Comments may be mailed to c/o SR 347, 1655 W. Jackson, #126F, Phoenix AZ 85007, or emailed to SR347@azdot.gov. Call with your comments at 855-712-8530.

ADOT and EPS personnel gather to answer specific questions from residents. Photo by Tyler Loveall
ADOT and EPS personnel gather to answer specific questions from residents. Photo by Tyler Loveall