SR347 Riggs Road
Travelers around Arizona will find state highways free of scheduled closures this upcoming holiday weekend. There may be isolated lane restrictions in some areas. [ADOT}

A state House bill appropriating $35 million to construct an overpass at State Route 347 and Riggs Road passed out of the Transportation Committee and was assigned to the Appropriations Committee.

All present members voted in support on Wednesday.

If eventually passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor, HB 2068 would move the money from the General Fund to the Arizona Department of Transportation in Fiscal Year 2022. The project would require more funding and multi-governmental cooperation. Its lead sponsor is Rep. Bret Roberts of Maricopa (R-District 11), who sponsored a similar bill in the last session.

Roberts and city officials this week have encouraged residents to reach out to members of the committees to press support of the bill.

In addition to the congestion and safety concerns on the highway, Roberts has cited the continuing growth of Maricopa, which is projected to reach a population of 124,000 in the next two decades.

He is quick to point out the legislation is only the “first step” toward the work necessary to widen the state highway between I-10 and Peters and Nall Road in south Maricopa and make it safer. Much more work on a comprehensive solution will be necessary, he noted.

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.