Sonoran Desert Parkway an indicator of city’s infrastructure capability

Work has begun on the initial 1.6 mile phase of the Sonoran Desert Parkway. When completed the route will link State Route 347 and Interstate 10. The initial phase runs from SR 347 to Porter Road. [City of Maricopa]

Is Maricopa capable of building big-budget infrastructure projects to help move motorists in high-demand areas?

City Councilmember Bob Marsh believes so.

Marsh said in a video played during the State of the City address by Mayor Nancy Smith that the Sonoran Desert Parkway – formerly known as the East-West Corridor – is an example. The parkway will link State Route 347 and Interstate 10 from Maricopa’s south side, giving residents a second route to access the Valley.

“A project the size of the Sonoran Desert Parkway carries significance for our other transportation projects, like the Riggs Road overpass,” Marsh said. “This is a key step in alleviating slowdowns and backups on the highways. The progress we’re making on these critical infrastructure projects is proof that our goals are achievable.”

Kevin Fisher, the senior project manager for Sunland Asphalt, the paving contractor for the project, explained the one-of-a-kind project.

“The uniqueness of it is this is actually the first purpose-built parkway (to move traffic rather than provide scenic views) in the state of Arizona,” Fisher said.

It starts at 347 and runs east along the Farrell Road alignment, tying into Porter Road and heading north across the Santa Rosa Wash.

“As you know, whenever there is good storm, a lot of times the low-flow crossing gets flooded, ultimately closing the road and basically not allowing access on Porter Road,” Fisher said.

Fisher added the construction team will first remove the existing low-flow crossing, The construction team began to drill support shafts for the new bridge in October. The bridge will be 220 feet long and 100 feet wide and contain more than 1.5 million square yards of granite.

About 5,000 plants and trees are also part of the project.

The initial 1.6 miles, which connects State Route 347 and Porter Road, is tentatively scheduled for completion in June 2023.

Read about start of construction:

Read about parkway’s projected importance: