Santa Rosa Wash crossings coming soon, Santa Cruz to be channelized

Summer flooding of Porter Road at the Santa Rosa Wash is not uncommon.

A bridge over the Santa Rosa Wash will allow citizens of Santa Rosa Springs a secondary escape route if the wash is full and the train tracks are blocked. The wash’s impact on Rancho El Dorado Parkway may also be tamed, in part.

The City of Maricopa is looking at solving many of its problems in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget. It includes is a laundry list of capital improvement projects (CIP) that will make life much better for the average citizen.

One of the items on the wish list is a bridge on Porter Road, over the Santa Rosa Wash. The bridge, at a cost of about $900,000, will keep Porter Road open to Farrell Road if water is running in the wash.

“Starting this fiscal year, we will start to design a bridge crossing of the Santa Rosa Wash,” said Joshua Plumb, city engineer. “This is going to provide all-weather access to folks that use Farrell Road now to get to 347, Porter and the folks in Santa Rosa Springs. There are about 650 lots in Santa Rosa Springs. If the train is stopped on the tracks, to the north, and the wash is running, to the south, they are kind of caught. We will be designing a bridge that will at least give them access to the city to the south.”

Plumb said there always must be a route out of a large subdivision.

“This is something that they are keenly aware of in Santa Rosa Springs,” Plumb said.

The project will be funded by using the city’s impact fees, which are collected when parts of the city are developed for residential or commercial purposes.

Another change will happen in the northern section of the Santa Rosa Wash where it twice crosses Rancho El Dorado Parkway. An emergency flood warning system will be implemented, a round-the-clock electronic system that will monitor water running in the wash and warn motorists with flood warning signs before they reach the wash.

This will eliminate motorists getting to the wash area, only to have to turn around because the wash in full. This will be installed on both crossings of Rancho El Dorado Parkway.

On the north crossing, however, the city plans to elevate the roadway so traffic can still cross during “the smaller, more frequent storm events.” Major flood events would still impact the parkway. The cost of the crossing is estimated at $905,000 and is scheduled for fiscal years 2021 and 2022.


Other changes will happen to the flood plain surrounding the Santa Cruz Wash.

“We are still in design on the north Santa Cruz Wash Project,” Plumb said. “I would anticipate this calendar year, we will be finished with design to the point that we can apply to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) for a conditional letter of map revision (CLOMR). Then it becomes an issue of working through the FEMA process, finding ways to fund the project and working with the developers who are part of our stakeholder’s group.”

The project would entail the channelization of the wash.

“It would take what really runs through about a mile-wide swath of the city and channelizing to a roughly 300-foot wide wash,” Plumb said . “This will allow the rest of the area to be developed. It’s not a wash right now. Water sheet flows across the surface in this mile-wide area from White and Parker Road to a mile east. It is even broader in some areas. It will take all that area and put it into a single channel, or wash, that will be deeper and narrower. The remaining, almost a full mile wide, area will be open for economic development.”

Plumb said as an engineer his goal is to get the city to where it is open to economic development and the wash redesign will unlock a lot of area for housing and commercial development.

“It is a long and expensive process with the flood plain in the center of the city,” Plumb said. “It pretty much creates two cities with that mile-wide separation in between. You can’t build anything in that area right now.”