House passes bill with $35M for 347 overpass at Riggs

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The Arizona House of Representatives on Monday passed legislation that would appropriate $35 million for construction of a State Route 347 overpass at Riggs Road.

House Bill 2068, introduced by state Rep. Bret Roberts of Maricopa, passed 49-11 and moves to the state Senate for consideration. If approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. Doug Ducey, the money would be moved from the General Fund to the Arizona Department of Transportation in Fiscal Year 2022.

The project would require more funding and multi-governmental cooperation and is viewed as just the first of many improvements needed to address traffic congestion and safety concerns on the state highway, according to Roberts, who sponsored a similar bill in the last session. Much more work on a comprehensive solution will be necessary, he noted.

Roberts and Maricopa officials have encouraged residents to reach out to members of the legislative committees to press support of the bill.

Roberts has also cited the continuing growth of Maricopa, which is projected to reach a population of 124,000 in the next two decades.

The intersection of SR347 and Riggs is a frequent site of accidents. Most recently, a motorist was killed in an accident there in late December.

Pinal County is studying solutions for the busy roadway – about 40,000 commuters use it daily – as the Maricopa Association of Governments seeks cooperation from ADOT, City of Maricopa and Gila River Indian Community. Funding of improvements would be collected by the Regional Transportation Authority via the county’s Prop 417. A challenge to the legality of the wording of the proposition is currently before the Arizona Supreme Court.

Gila River recently provided its long-awaited input on the MAG study, which can now move into the next phase, including the gathering of public input on different facets of the plan, Roberts said.