Tags Articles tagged with "Overpass"


Residents in the south end of the city, viewed above from the overpass, have seen considerable benefits from the $55 million project, including commercial development opportunities and renewed interest from home builders. Photo by Bob McGovern
An Amtrak train sits at the Maricopa station at sunrise. A new day dawned in the city when the overpass opened to carry traffic over the train tracks. Photo by Merenzi Young / Eye of Odin Studios

By Bob McGovern and Kyle Norby

For years, the train tracks passing through town were the go-to excuse for many Maricopa students looking to delay the start of their school day.

But the much-anticipated overpass has changed life in the city in numerous, more substantive ways, too. Its impact has been immediate, and even more positive effects will play out over years, if not decades.

Motorists perhaps have benefited the most from the bridge over the tracks, which opened to traffic on July 15, 2019. The elimination of the train crossing immediately made it safer for motorists and reduced traffic congestion and related stress.

Residents living south of those tracks have seen huge benefits from the overpass as well, and perhaps stand to gain the most from the overpass in the long-term.

Bridge bypassed the tracks – and some businesses, too

$55 million project spurs commercial, residential development

Ambulances respond to health emergencies faster, firefighters can answer fire calls, and police can more easily get to developments like Maricopa Meadows, Alterra, Desert Cedars, Palo Brea and Santa Rosa Springs, according to city officials.

The 500-foot-long, $55 million overpass, has opened multiple avenues of development, with builders putting up (and planning more) homes in Palo Brea and Alterra. Commercial development along John Wayne Parkway is increasing as well.

Businesses in the south end of town have benefited as well, with customers and employees finding it easier to get to and from Harrah’s Ak-Chin Hotel and Casino and the UltraStar Multi-tainment Center.

“I had always said that when the overpass goes in, not only is it going to help protect us from a public safety standpoint, because we simply don’t have the interaction with the trains anymore,” Mayor Christian Price said, “but the bigger thing – the long-term thing – will be the fact that it opens up the city in a way that we had never experienced before. Because we really did have a north and south side of the tracks.

“It’s kind of the gift that keeps on giving.”

The improvements made at the realigned John Wayne Parkway and Honeycutt Road has virtually eliminated one of the most dangerous intersections in the city. Photo by Bob McGovern


As the city of Maricopa rose quickly on this nearly 43-square-mile patch in the desert, it grew around the Union Pacific Railroad tracks that bisect the city. The vast majority of that land lies south of the tracks.

The rail line intersected with State Route 347, the city’s main transportation corridor, which carries more than 31,000 vehicles per day on average and is expected to reach 60,000 vehicles per day in 2040, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Crossing the tracks at SR347 was a major headache as often as not, especially during rush-hour. Lights would blink and the safety gates would fall about 60 times a day as UP freight trains traveled the Sunset Route rails east and west laden with ferrous scrap, wheat and flour, and assembled vehicles.

It was a longer wait if you were trying to cross the tracks while Amtrak’s Sunset Limited train was in the Maricopa station, just south of the crossing. Motorists could wait 20 minutes or much longer as passengers – and their luggage – embarked and debarked one car at a time, the train edging forward so the process could be repeated on successive coaches.

Many drivers found the situation excruciating, honking their horns at the train. Motorists regularly would turn their cars around. Others would turn off John Wayne Parkway and make long detours around the crossing if they saw the gleaming silver railcars in station.

Judit Kalman Hutson doesn’t miss the old crossing one bit. She moved from Desert Cedars to The Villages at Rancho El Dorado in 2011, in part to minimize its effect on her daily life.

A Maricopa resident since 2005, she recalls getting “cut by the train” on her way to work from Desert Cedars or leaving her home at 10:20 p.m. and not making it to Fry’s before the doors closed at 11.

After she moved, three times a day she would leave 30 minutes early to make the 2.5-mile-or-so drive from The Villages to Copper Sky for her kids’ morning swim practice or her evening spin class. The same trip today takes maybe 5-7 minutes, said Hutson, 44.

“I believe the majority of the residents agree that the overpass has been a positive result for our community,” she wrote on Facebook. “We can’t satisfy everyone for sure, but I believe we came pretty close with this one.”

“I love the overpass.”

Similar stories are numerous.

Bri Wilson, 25, recalled the hassle of leaving from her bartending job at UltraStar at night just to be caught waiting at the tracks.

“When I worked on Sunday nights, I’d either get stuck for around 30 minutes and I’d have to decide whether it was worth it to just wait it out or go all the way back down over by Porter Road to get through,” she said.

Beth Mundell, who lives in Maricopa Meadows, said she would routinely get stuck at the crossing for 30-45 minutes.

“I’d think there had to be a science” to avoiding the Amtrak trains, she said. Then, about a year after she moved here, someone told her about the Amtrak app. She downloaded it and would literally schedule her leaving and return to the house around when the app indicated the train would be in station, she said.

“The overpass was life-changing in a lot of ways,” said Mundell, 45, a 12-year resident of the city. “I don’t even think about it anymore. I don’t think about the train. I haven’t even looked to see when it’s coming or going since the overpass opened.”

The first time she used the overpass she remembers thinking, “’Thank goodness that this is here.’ I know the city council and the mayor worked so hard for it.”

For years, the crossing wore on the collective patience of the city. Heading from one end of town to the other was a mental hurdle. Everybody knew the solution, but where would the money come from?


City leaders envisioned an overpass – or underpass – way back in 2004.

The town was already booming. The population had mushroomed from about 1,000 residents to about 7,000 in just four years and was growing by about 1,000 residents a month by that year.

The city council’s general plan, a blueprint for what Maricopa would become over the next 10-15 years, included a Capital Improvement Plan with at least one costly project – a way over or under the tracks.

By 2013, through the persistence of city leaders, including former Mayor Kelly Anderson, the much-needed project was firmly on the radar of state officials and leaders in Washington.

At the time, Price said a “proactive” effort on behalf of the city and other interested parties helped push the project to the top of priority lists, according to an InMaricopa.com report. The city’s lobbying firm, Nexxus Consulting, helped open doors in Washington.

Robert Miguel, chairman of the Ak-Chin Indian Community, recalled pushing the project in the nation’s capital when he was there to promote his community.

“Every time I’d gone to D.C. myself representing Ak-Chin Community … I always made it a priority to sneak in a couple of quotes and try to establish a relationship with these lawmakers. ‘You know, we need this overpass in Maricopa, so if there is any way we can influence and persuade to award Maricopa that grant, we’re here to do that,’” he said.

“All we wanted was to make sure the residents of Ak-Chin and Maricopa were protected, public safety-wise, and for smoother flow in traffic,” he added. “When it happened, it was great to see. It was the greatest thing to see that overpass go over.”

Ak-Chin did not contribute to the project. However, it was eventually funded by a $15 million federal TIGER grant and a $15 million contribution by the City of Maricopa, in addition to ADOT’s $19 million commitment.

Rick Horst, the current city manager, observed the project was a long time in the making and noted the contributions of past council members and city leaders in getting the overpass constructed.

“They deserve a lot of credit,” he said.


City leaders and residents waited a long time for a remedy.

The rail crossing at John Wayne Parkway, with its high traffic counts (trains and vehicles) and many accidents, was dangerous. Everybody knew it. In fact, a letter included with a city application for a federal grant in May 2013 to help address the safety problems called it “one of the most dangerous rail crossings in Arizona.”

“Because it bisects the fastest growing area of Arizona, traffic is congested, public safety is compromised, and children are at risk because of its proximity to a high school,” read the letter to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

People died.

In June 2000, a child died after becoming trapped in a truck that stalled on the tracks.

A motorcycle rider was killed at the crossing in February 2013 after striking a descending barricade arm.

Other lives were threatened, too, like the young school bus driver who escaped injury in November 2015 by leaping off a bus, empty of kids, that was stuck on the tracks before it was struck by a freight train.

The intersection of John Wayne Parkway and Honeycutt Road, 600 feet north of the tracks, was dangerous, too. Too many motorists heading west on Honeycutt would make illegal left-hand turns onto John Wayne leading to many wrecks.

“The intersection at Honeycutt and 347 was our top crash or collision intersection for three or four years running,” said Maricopa Police Chief Steve Stahl, because drivers violated the no left-turn sign.

“And it was a one-way road where, you know, people became too impatient because the roadway was backed up,” he said. “So, it was an extreme situation.”

The overpass, an Arizona Department of Transportation project, did two things to dramatically improve safety. The bridge took the heavy traffic over the tracks, eliminating interaction between trains and vehicles, and the long waits commonplace for decades. It also realigned John Wayne to the east, its intersection with Honeycutt Road redesigned to make it easier to navigate safely and enhance traffic flow.

The John Wayne-Honeycutt intersection is “by far safer” today, Stahl noted. “Now, we’re rarely called there for a crash.”

“The safety and mobility benefits of this improvement occur each time a train passes State Route 347,” said Steve Elliott, Arizona Department of Transportation. “ADOT and Maricopa worked closely together to make this improvement a reality, and the result has paid dividends for the past year and will continue benefiting the city for decades to come.”

Union Pacific supports roadway grade separations as they have broad public benefits, said spokesman Tim S. McMahan.

“(The overpass) improves traffic flow for the thousands of vehicles who previously were required to stop if a train was present at the crossing and eliminates potential collisions that could occur at an at-grade crossing, both with motorists and pedestrians,” he said. “We applaud the efforts of those involved in making this a successful project.”

“We consider this project a success and look forward to working with the community on the next opportunity.”


The gleaming white overpass ended a longtime excuse for students late to class at Maricopa High School.

Tori Kaszubski, 23, a 2014 graduate of MHS, remembers vividly being trapped by the dreaded Amtrak trains.

“I remember the bus being stuck at the railroad crossing for as long as an hour sometimes,” Kaszubski said. “I think a good handful of us started to realize we could use the Amtrak to our benefit, since we would be late taking the bus anyway, why not ditch and walk to get breakfast knowing we’ll be excused because of the traffic?”

Another graduate, Nicolas Kalnasy, 25, laughed and said, “It was an absolute annoyance. I am glad they built a bridge and got over it.”

Maricopa Unified School District fought an uphill with the tracks for years, from bus delays to the inconvenience of sporting events letting out during late-night Amtrak stops. Serfio Pulido, transportation director for the district, said the overpass has been a marked improvement for transportation routes and getting kids to first period on time.

“The overpass is a blessing when it came to route timing. I’ve had nothing but positive feedback,” Pulido said.

This story appears in the July issue of InMaricopa.

The Chevron station near the new overpass has seen business fall off 50% to 60% since State Route 347 was realigned as part of the project, according to its owner.
Vimal Patel

The overpass is generally considered a huge success for the city, but there was collateral damage for some businesses working in the shadows of structure.

Vimal Patel, the owner of the Chevron gas station and shop, was blunt about the effect of the project on his business:

“Very bad. We end up doing 50% to 60% (less) business now. They just put us on the side. The city doesn’t even care.”

At the Country Stylin’ Salon in the Maricopa Manor Business Center, owner Janine Spencer said her business has suffered tremendously since the bridge opened in July 2019:

Janine Spencer

“I lost half my stylists and half my business, and we still haven’t recovered …. I hope to stay in business. The bridge kind of kicked our butt.”

A year later, overpass ‘opens up the city’

$55 million project spurs commercial, residential development

Rudy Duran


At the Smokers Edge Smoke and Vape shop in the same shopping center, employee Rudy Duran said a falloff during the months the overpass took shape has mostly dissipated.

“During construction we took a little hit there. Now that it’s all done, we’re doing pretty good.”

This story appears in the July issue of InMaricopa.

Photo by Kyle Norby

One person was reported injured in a two-vehicle collision on the State Route 347 overpass Monday after 3 p.m.

The vehicles collided in the northbound lanes, and one car flipped on its side. Lanes were closed to traffic while first responders worked the scene.

Photo by Kyle Norby

According to Maricopa Fire/Medical Department, a 25-year-old man was transported to Chandler Regional Medical Center with “minor extremity injuries.”

Maricopa Police Department is investigating the incident.

Photo by Kyle Norby

Before Thanksgiving, the final work on the State Route 347 grade-separation project should be mostly completed, barring more rain, which is predicted Wednesday.

Arizona Department of Transportation road crews starting striping roadways Sunday. Drivers are urged to use caution and watch for construction personnel in work areas.

Monday, crews continue striping on Honeycutt Road, Honeycutt Avenue and Plainview Street.

From 10 p.m. Tuesday until 5 a.m. Wednesday, crews are expected to finish striping Maricopa Road and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway between SR 347 to Maricopa Groves Parkway. The roads will be narrowed to one lane only or one lane in each direction to allow one side of the road to be striped at a time.

Striping work on SR 347 will be completed under “rolling closures,” which is a common highway traffic control technique used for construction activities requiring short-term road restrictions. Please take extra care when driving past the mobile striping operation, and do not drive on wet pavement markings.

When the striping work is completed, the $23 million construction project to build a new overpass over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks in Maricopa will be substantially completed. Construction activities may continue off and on over the next few months, but impacts to drivers should be minimal.

Crews lay rubberized asphalt on Plainview and Honeycutt roads in the approach to the overpass. Photo by Kyle Norby

Traffic backup that is occurring on and around the overpass in midtown Maricopa will continue longer than expected.

Drivers who use State Route 347 and nearby roads should plan for slow travel and delays through the rest of this week. The Arizona Department of Transportation has extended its final paving operations through Friday.

Following is the updated road restriction schedule:

• Paving will begin at 8 a.m. and continue to 6 p.m.
• SR 347 will be narrowed to one lane in each direction between Hathaway Avenue and Alterra Parkway/Desert Cedars Drive.
• In addition, there will be left-turn restrictions between SR 347, Honeycutt Road and Honeycutt Avenue.

Thursday and Friday
• Paving will begin at 8 a.m. and continue to 6 p.m.
• SR 347 will be narrowed to one lane in each direction between Hathaway Avenue and Alterra Parkway/Desert Cedars Drive.
• There will be right- and left-turn restrictions at each intersection throughout project area.

Crews will re-open segments of the roadway when the freshly paved roads are dry. ADOT recommends drivers allow extra travel time and avoid using the impacted roads, if possible, by taking alternate routes. The road restriction schedule is subject to change.

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ADOT — Drivers who use the new Plainview Street at Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway should plan for a temporary traffic switch while the Arizona Department of Transportation continues work on the State Route 347 overpass project in Maricopa.

Starting at 4 a.m. Tuesday, Plainview Street will switch from one-way to two-way traffic between MCGH and just north of Arizona Avenue in the Heritage District.

While the temporary traffic configuration is in place, drivers will be able to use Plainview Street to enter and exit the highway. During this time, Fourth Street will be closed north of MCGH.

Drivers can continue accessing the nearby businesses and shops located at Stagestop Marketplace by using a temporary driveway via Plainview Street. The traffic switch will be in place for approximately 30 days so ADOT crews can complete their work to widen and reconfigure MCGH near the new SR 347 overpass.

Nick Sanchez owns a tattoo business in the Blue Barn, which sits directly south of the railroad tracks and is now on a cul-de-sac instead of a crossing. Photo by Kyle Norby

To say the overpass construction has been complicated for Maricopa citizens and businesses alike would be an understatement.  

The overpass had been a distant dream in many Maricopans minds until the project finally broke ground in late 2017. Numerous local businesses have been affected by the construction, with hightraffic routes being cut off.  

In the early stages of the project, Honeycutt Road was the first long-term road closure, significantly affecting customer traffic for the Maricopa Business Center until the overpass opened in July 

“There were some days that were so slow that I thought I made a mistake,” said Honeycutt Coffee owner Tanya Powers, who purchased the business during the road closures. “Now there has been a lot more foot traffic, and business has been a lot better.”  

With the overpass open to traffic, old John Wayne Parkway’s intersecting roads have been torn up from Hathaway Avenue to Edwards Avenue to develop new routes eliminating vehicular crossing of the railroad tracks. Aside from the inconvenience for local businesses and customers, many owners are claiming they received no warning their businesses would be at a dead end. 

“I think it could have been handled differently,” said Redemption Tattoo owner Nick Sanchez. “It took the whole curb appeal away from a business. I still don’t understand the cul-de-sac thing.” 

ADOT spokesman Steve Elliott said the road plan was developed in collaboration with the railroad and approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission to improve safety. “A key part of the safety benefit comes from eliminating the at-grade crossing next to the overpass while maintaining access to businesses,” he said.

The plan is to re-open the old John Wayne Parkway north of the tracks (now called Maricopa Road) for a direct route under the overpass to Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. South of the tracks, the road will be a cul-de-sac at Edwards Avenue in front of A-1 Pawn and the Blue Barn.  

Mayor Christian Price has said State Route 347 is owned by ADOT and the matter is out of the city’s hands. Early 3D concept videos created by ADOT in 2017 visualize these routes and plans for SR 347, reinforcing the change wasn’t the city’s choice at that point. 

Jim Shoaf, who runs local food bank Maricopa Pantry, addressed the cul-de-sac issue at a city council meeting in July. 

“I think it’s a shame that the powersthatbe can actually command the city to do what I think is not in the best interest of the city,” Shoaf said. “I think it’s going to hurt small businesses in that area.”

This story appears in the September issue of InMaricopa.

ADOT — The new Maricopa Road – between Hathaway Avenue and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway – will be paved overnight in Maricopa from 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28, to 6 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, and from 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug 29, to 6 a.m. Friday, Aug. 30.

During the paving operations, access to businesses on Maricopa Road will be limited to side streets and the adjacent alleyway.

After the first round of paving, Maricopa Road will reopen during the day on Thursday, before paving operations start back up Thursday night. The road will remain open Friday while crews adjust manholes and water valves on the newly paved street.

The project is part of the grade-separation improvements that included the new overpass.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is advising drivers that Alterra Parkway will be closed at State Route 347 in Maricopa beginning Monday, Aug. 5.

The closure will remain in place through September as work continues on the construction of a new intersection at Alterra Parkway and SR 347 as part of the overpass project. As a result of the closure, which will begin at 5 a.m. Monday, drivers will not be able to turn west onto Alterra Parkway from SR 347 or access SR 347 eastbound from Alterra Parkway.

SR 347 will remain open to both north- and southbound traffic, and Desert Cedars Drive east of SR 347 also will remain open.

Drivers should use Bowlin Road as a detour.

Still having trouble accessing some of your favorite Maricopa businesses in the shadow of the overpass? Arizona Department of Transportation has released a new map on the current traffic detours as work continues on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. The at-grade railroad track crossing has been eliminated. The former State Route 347 that connects with businesses from Hathaway Avenue to the Amtrak station (north of the tracks) and from A1 Pawn to Honeycutt Avenue (south of the tracks) is the new Maricopa Road.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is advising drivers of the following road closures that will be in place overnight from 9 p.m. Friday, July 26, to noon Saturday, July 27, for storm-drain work in the intersection of Honeycutt Avenue and Maricopa Road (old State Route 347 alignment):

  • Eastbound Honeycutt Avenue will be closed at Maricopa Road (old SR 347 alignment).
  • Southbound Maricopa Road (old SR 347 alignment) will be closed at Edwards Avenue.

ADOT recommends the following detours:

Detour for Eastbound Honeycutt Avenue traffic: Drive west to Hogenes Boulevard. Travel south on Hogenes Boulevard to Bowlin Road, and then proceed eastbound on Bowlin Road to access SR 347.

Detour for southbound Maricopa Road (old SR 347 alignment) traffic: Drive west on Edwards Avenue to Hogenes Boulevard. Travel south on Hogenes Boulevard to Bowlin Road, and then proceed eastbound on Bowlin Road to access SR 347.

The storm-drain work is occurring in conjunction with the SR 347 overpass project.

Residents walked and pedaled over the overpass Saturday morning. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

As a freight train blasted its horn and rumbled under the new overpass, people standing above whooped in victory.

Vice Mayor Henry Wade put it into words: “You ain’t the boss of me no more.”

The City of Maricopa put together a ceremony Saturday with a ribbon-cutting atop the State Route 347 overpass ahead of the actual opening of the bridge to traffic planned for Monday at 5 a.m. Budgeted for $55 million, the overpass was given state funding in 2014. The City of Maricopa is paying $15 million, and so is the federal government (through a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant).

The official groundbreaking was Nov. 20, 2017.

With traffic bottle-necked and even stopped dead at the junction of SR 347 and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, the idea of an overpass had been floated before incorporation. The long stops of Amtrak trains and increasingly frequent appearances of freight trains have delayed years of Maricopa drivers.

Mayor Christian Price noted the amount of time it took to get funding for the project long before construction began. “You can say that we need something all day long,” Mayor Christian Price said. “We know the 347 has its challenges. I’ve been working on that for six and a half years, and it’s going to take another six and a half years. But, you know what? If you don’t start working on it now, when it gets to be a real problem – I mean a real problem – you won’t be ready for it.”

Former mayor and former chairman of the State Transportation Board Kelly Anderson worked on making an overpass a reality since he was mayor. He said the opening of the overpass was surreal.

“I don’t have a feeling because I’m numb,” he said.

On the State Transportation Board, he said he learned the compromises and negotiations necessary to get projects done, including getting an overpass over the UP tracks in the middle of Maricopa.

“There’s an ADOT saying now. It’s the ‘Maricopa model,’” Anderson said. “You bring your own money to the model to get something done, and that’s what we did here.”

Along with elected officials, city staff and invited guests, Saturday’s event drew several residents on foot, on bicycles and on scooters, despite the heat reaching over 110 degrees.

“We’ve been excited for the overpass to happen and figured we’d come up to see it,” said Steven Chaston, a Villages resident. “To be perfectly honest, we’re not going to use it much, but we’re really glad it’s here.”

Janee Jackson said the overpass was part of the big improvements that are creating a “new Maricopa.”

“It’s cool because I really don’t want to be here for the train anymore,” said Ridge Rieman, who was with his family on bicycles crossing the bridge.

Thirteen-year-old Eturnitie Henderson agreed. “People have to go to work in the morning and sometimes they get stopped by the train and that causes stress and everything. So, it’s good they have this now.”

She was there as part of Library Initiative for Teens (LIFT). Along with the Maricopa High School Marching Rams and the MHS Air Force Junior ROTC, LIFT involved teenagers in the community event.

Micah Hannam, an ADOT engineer who became a familiar face at public meetings during the design process, reminded everyone the work is not done.

“This is a momentous thing for the community. I’ve only been down here about two years, and already I understand how big of a deal this overpass is,” he said. “There’s still several more months of construction going on. So, with all the traffic changes, please drive safely, drive carefully and enjoy the new overpass.”

Karla Petty of the Federal Highway Administration talked in even more detail about driving habits. “You’re going to want to just use it as a raceway. Please don’t. Be patient. Make the roadway safe, buckle up and be attentive.”

Chris Kane of Ames Construction said the overpass would have “an immediate, long-lasting, positive effect upon the community. You’ve got to be grateful any time you can be a part of something like that.”


Restrictions begin July 15 as project nears 80% completion

The following road closures that will begin Friday night

The Arizona Department of Transportation is advising drivers that State Route 347 in Maricopa will be closed between Edison and Bowlin roads from 12:01 a.m. to 4 a.m. July 15.

The full closure is needed as construction crews make final preparations for the scheduled opening of the new SR 347 overpass at 5 a.m. Monday. Detour signs will be in place to direct motorists around the full closure as access onto SR 347 between Edison and Bowlin roads will be restricted.

Motorists in the restricted area when the closure begins should proceed with caution when exiting the area. Police officers will assist with enforcing the restriction and ensuring drivers safety vacate the area.

Other road closures and restrictions will begin after the overpass opens as the project enters its third, and final, phase. These include:

• The Alterra Parkway/SR 347 intersection will be closed in all directions from 9 p.m. Monday to 5 a.m. Tuesday. The full intersection closure is needed to install signal foundations and new poles.
• The full closure of Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway between SR 347 and Plainview Street for approximately three months begins Monday.
• North- and southbound travel will be reduced to two lanes in each direction on a segment of the old SR 347 alignment, between Hathaway Avenue and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway, through the end of construction in the fall. The segment of the old SR 347 alignment that will remain open after the project is completed is being renamed “Maricopa Road.”


Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The Arizona Department of Transportation advises drivers who use Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway (MCGH) to plan for overnight road closures for five days beginning June 4 at 9 p.m. as work continues on the State Route 347 Overpass project in Maricopa.

MCGH is scheduled to close in both directions between SR 347 and Pershing Street during the following dates and times:

  • 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 4 to 5 a.m. Wednesday, June 5
  • 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 5 to 5 a.m. Thursday, June 6
  • 9 p.m. Thursday, June 6 to 5 a.m. Friday, June 7
  • 9 p.m. Monday, June 10 to 5 a.m. Tuesday, June 11
  • 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 11 to 5 a.m. Wednesday, June 12

The following detours will be in place during the closures:

  • MCGH-to-SR 347 detour: Motorists driving northeast on MCGH can use Maricopa Groves Parkway to access north- and southbound SR 347.
  • SR 347-to-MCGH detour: Motorists driving southbound on SR 347 can travel east on Edison Road and follow the detour signs to access MCGH.
  • SR 347 will remain open while the overnight closures on MCGH are in effect.

The full closure of MCGH at SR 347 is needed so the temporary structures and forms, which were used to provide support for the overpass while it was being built, can be removed.

Southbound State Route 347 will be restricted to one lane between Hathaway and Garvey Avenues on Saturday, May 18, as well as Monday and Tuesday, May 20 and 21, from 5:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for crews to continue work on the overpass alignment.

Motorists should allow extra travel time and use caution around construction personnel and equipment while work is underway.

For more information on the overpass project, visit www.overpasstracker.com.

Store owner remains unsure about future

Built in the 1950s, the NAPA Auto Parts store has a new neighbor on its east side as ADOT completes the SR 347 overpass. Photo by Jim Headley

The Arizona Department of Transportation has begun condemnation proceedings to take possession of the Maricopa NAPA site.

“We are now in condemnation proceedings to take the entire property.” — Tom Herrmann, ADOT

Tena Dugan, owner of NAPA Auto Parts and Mel’s Auto Repair, located on the corner of State Route 347 and the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway, said she remains unsure where she might move her business. She does not own the building.

Due to the construction of the State Route 347 overpass looming on the store’s east side, ADOT officially acknowledged Friday they are attempting to condemn the property.

The owner of the property in county paperwork is Marathon Enterprises LLC of Casa Grande. Craig Scott is the owner of Marathon, Dugan said.

According to court records, ADOT paid $404,000 in earnest money to the Pinal County Clerk of the Court in 2017 for the property. In February this year, Superior Court Judge Steven J. Fuller issued an amended order for immediate possession dependent on another cash bond of $485,850. It is part of a suit ADOT filed two years ago naming Mel’s Auto LLC, Marathon Enterprises and the Pinal County treasurer as defendants.

Tom Herrmann, ADOT public information officer, acknowledged plans to condemn the property.

“We have converted from what was a partial taking of the NAPA site,” Herrmann said. “Originally, the plan was (to take) a small area on the east side of the NAPA site. We are now in condemnation proceedings to take the entire property.”

He said it remains unknown what ADOT might do with the site.

“We are about to start settlement negotiations. We are not near a final agreement or a price on the property, but that process has started. How long it will take is really up in the air,” Herrmann said.

Dugan said as far as she knows, ADOT is her current landlord and they must give her 60 days’ notice before eviction.

“Every day I have 60 more days,” Dugan said. “I’ve worked with a relocation specialist and I’m just going with the flow. I’m trying to finalize everything, so we can move some place. I don’t have an answer of what we’re going to do.”

Dugan has another NAPA store in Stanfield. Dugan said she could move her Maricopa services there until she lands at a new location.


Former mayor Kelly Anderson and Mayor Christian Price check out the view from above Wednesday. Photos by Jim Headley


Maricopa Mayor Christian Price and the city’s first mayor Kelly Anderson took a hands-on tour over the State Route 347 overpass early Wednesday morning with Wes Carnahan, the city’s street maintenance manager. During the tour they met with Dan Keller, project manager with Ames Construction, Chris Kane, project manager of the southwest region for Ames, and Jason Dyer, project superintendent with Ames. Also, on the tour were Mike Riggs, Maricopa’s public works director, and the city’s public information officer, Adam Wolfe. The new overpass in the heart of Maricopa is to open for traffic around July 4, according to Ames.

The Arizona Department of Transportation will be carrying out overnight closures of three intersections in Maricopa this week. These will be full closures of each intersection during the following times:

Hathaway Avenue and SR 347 Intersection – The closure will be from 9 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday.

  • Detour for southbound SR 347 traffic: Drive west on Edison Road to Wilson Avenue. Travel south on Wilson Avenue to Garvey Road, and then proceed eastbound on Garvey Road to re-enter southbound SR 347.
  • Detour for northbound SR 347 traffic: Drive west on Garvey Avenue to Wilson Avenue. Travel north on Wilson Avenue to Edison Road, and then proceed eastbound on Edison Road to re-enter northbound SR 347.

Honeycutt Road and Plainview Street intersection – The closure will also be from 9 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday.

  • Detour: Use Maricopa Groves Parkway to access Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway (MCGH).

Alterra Parkway and SR 347 intersection – The closure will be from 9 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday.

  • Detour for southbound SR 347 traffic: From SR 347, drive southeast on MCGH to Porter Road. Travel south on Porter Road to Farrell Road, and then use westbound Farrell Road to re-connect to SR 347.
  • Detour for northbound SR 347 traffic: Drive east on Farrell Road to Porter Road. Travel north on Porter Road to access SR 347 from MCGH.

Schedules are subject to change based on weather and other unforeseen factors.

Head to www.OverpassTracker.com for an overview of the project, frequent updates on traffic impacts, project timelines, maps and videos of what the project will look like when complete. The City of Maricopa has also established a 24/7 Hotline for you to call and get answers to more specific questions or concerns at 520-316-6910.

Traffic lights at Plainview about to be operational

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Arizona Department of Transportation

Crews are scheduled to pour the concrete deck for the final section of a State Route 347 overpass starting this week as the Arizona Department of Transportation moves ever closer to opening the bridge and new highway alignment by early summer.

The work is scheduled for 1 to 5 a.m. Thursday, April 25, and from 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, to 5 a.m. Wednesday, May 1. For the safety of drivers, Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway will be closed at the overpass and traffic will be re-routed while crews pour the concrete.

Completing the bridge deck above Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway will clear the way for crews to begin paving the new alignment of SR 347.

Drivers should watch for lane restrictions and possible delays starting in late April as workers begin connecting the new alignment with the current SR 347 at Alterra Parkway on the south and Hathaway Avenue on the north.

A new traffic signal at Plainview and Honeycutt roads will begin operating in late April. Plainview is a new street built just west of the Maricopa Unified School District to connect Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway with Honeycutt Road. Northbound drivers on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway will use Plainview and Honeycutt Road to reach SR 347’s new alignment.

The new alignment is expected to be ready for traffic by this summer. Honeycutt Road, which has been closed for the past few months to accommodate construction, will open to the new alignment at the same time. An extension of Honeycutt Avenue, located south of the railroad tracks, also will connect with the new alignment.

Once the new alignment is open to traffic, crews will begin making changes to the current roadway, including cul-de-sacs just north and south of the railroad crossing and just north of Alterra Parkway. That work is expected to be completed by November.

The $55 million overpass will eliminate the need for drivers to wait for trains crossing SR 347. Train traffic and vehicular traffic are expected to double in the area in the next 20 years.

Lights at Honeycutt Road and Plainview are expected to be operational by the end of April.

Photo by Jim Headley


The State Route 347 overpass construction project in Maricopa is right on track.

“We’re making great progress,” said Thomas Herrmann, public information officer for the Arizona Department of Transportation. “A couple weeks ago we poured the concrete on the deck of the portion of the bridge over the railroad tracks. The next big thing is to pour the deck on the section that goes over the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. We’re looking about two weeks out on that.”

Overnight on April 24 and again April 30, the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway will be closed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., as construction crews pour the concrete deck over the highway.

“So, it will have the least impact on traffic,” Herrmann said. “We’re moving forward on that.”

Herrmann said when examining the project timeline, it looks like the overpass will be open to initial traffic in late June or early July.

“We’re looking at less than three months to open up the new alignment on 347 and have traffic on the new overpass,” he said. “Then we will get over and start making the adjustments on the current alignment of 347. It is coming up very quickly.”

The current alignment of 347 will have added cul-de-sacs, and other roadways will have to be reconnected.


“If you go out to the site, you can see new curbing down and those kinds of things to connect Honeycutt Avenue to the new alignment of 347 south of the overpass,” Herrmann said. “Honeycutt Road, which has been closed for a while, will remain closed until we open the new alignment.”

He said Honeycutt Road will likely open in late June.

“It all looks really good,” he said. “You can already see the walls set up, the decorative walls are in place. It is really starting to look like a project that is coming together. It will give us that new alignment that will save people a lot of time coming in and out of town.”

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The first girder stretches above the railroad tracks and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. Photo by Jim Headley

The first girder was placed  Saturday night as construction of the overpass advances. The 82-foot girders are support beams for the bridge that will carry traffic over the railroad tracks and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. The girders arrived on flatbead trucks and were placed with cranes by Southwest Industrial Rigging, which teamed with Arizona Department of Transportation on the overnight work.

Detours, traffic-signal timing and trains combine for frequent backups through the overpass construction zone. Photo by Jim Headley

 Getting across the city of Maricopa can become challenging, if not seemingly impossible, at times with traffic backing up in three directions. 

It is all expected with the construction of the new SR 347 Overpass that’s going on in the central part of the city. 

Steve Elliott, Arizona Department of Transportation assistant communications director for public information, stated in a written email to InMaricopa, “With the SR 347 overpass project now in a very busy construction phase, we recommend that motorists plan ahead and budget extra time.” 

One major problem in the traffic patterns is the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway at its junction with State Route 347 in the heart of the construction zone. 

For those using Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway, closing Honeycutt Road just east of 347, which is necessary to make essential improvements, has meant additional traffic at the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway intersection with 347. Some had used Pershing and Honeycutt as a way around that intersection,” Elliott wrote. 

 With heavy traffic, train delays combined with disrupted light cycles leave motorists on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway in longer and longer backups. 

ADOT monitors traffic flow in the project area to assess whether there are ways to minimize delays, but the fact remains that this is a busy construction zone and will remain so for the coming months,” Elliott wrote. “Traffic light timing around the railroad tracks is an ongoing challenge, even without a construction project going on, due to the number of trains passing through each day. ADOT works to adjust signals as needed to reduce delays caused when trains pass. When complete, the overpass will eliminate train delays and improve safety for those using SR 347.” 



Construction crews are busy on the overpass project between Honeycutt Road and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. Photo by Jim Headley

“I don’t think people realize that they can still get into the plaza by just continuing on down the road. It has been slowing us down a little bit.” Rose Murrufo, employee, Maricopa Business Center

Let’s face it, no one likes driving through construction zones.

Early this week Honeycutt Road was closed from Pershing Street to John Wayne Parkway to allow for the construction of the new railroad overpass. It will remain closed until summer.

While it does cause a lot of problems and navigation nightmares, the people of Maricopa are taking it all in stride.

One of the most seriously affected businesses is Mel’s Auto/NAPA Autocare Center. Owner Tena Dugan is getting ready to close their location and move somewhere else in Maricopa. She is unsure where or when the business will move.

The NAPA dealership has been at the corner of Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway and State Route 347 since the 1950s.

“Right now, we have three different locations that we’re looking at – it kind of depends on which one pans out the best,” Dugan said.  “It’s not just prices, it’s utilities. Infrastructure is a big deal in Maricopa when you’re trying to put in a business. While it may be the right price for the land, the cost to get that land to where it needs to be to build a building is so prohibitive that the more expensive piece of property is the better deal.

“Maricopa is such a relatively new town that the infrastructure is just not there in a lot of these vacant areas.”

Dugan has owned the store since 2002.

“It was a great location when we bought. It was a corner with lots of land. We don’t own it – we have a landlord. The City actually took a portion of the back and we’ve had our fence moved several times. Right now, this is not an optimal location,” she said. “My employees still come to work every day. We do the best job that we can do, and we rely on our loyal customers who keep coming back. They are the ones who keep us in business right now. We knew it was coming for a long time. We just didn’t know when.”

Businesses in Maricopa Business Plaza on Honeycutt Road have been affected by the traffic detours. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson


With detours and construction everywhere around the store, NAPA’s business has suffered.

“It has been a substantial punch to my business. People can’t get to us. This is the absolute worst traffic nightmare I’ve ever seen in my whole life. I know you have to go backwards to go forwards. Sometimes you wonder,” she said, adding, “People are creatures of habit. You do what is habit. This is a very large traffic control change.”

With the construction still going on all around her, Dugan offered some advice.

“You have a choice in life. You can either adapt and overcome or you can worry yourself into the ground. I have a lot of employees who are relying on me to keep this business going – so that’s what we are going to do,” Dugan said.

Businesses in the Maricopa Business Center on Honeycutt Road are all still open, and there are still access points into the business plaza.

“I don’t think people realize that they can still get into the plaza by just continuing on down the road. It has been slowing us down a little bit,” said Rosa Murrufo, an employee at Metro by T Mobile.

Carol Steinke, a Maricopa north-side resident, said she is looking forward to the new overpass.

“If it means that will fly over the railroad tracks, I am all for it. I’ve been here 12 years and I go to that side of the railroad tracks a lot. I play bingo. I go to church. All of that’s over there and I live on this side. I’ll be happy. Sometimes we wait 20 minutes for a train that has people on it to go by,” Steinke said.

Joe Templin, owner of Joe’s Barber Shop in the Maricopa Business Center, said he was slow on Tuesday but added it’s not unusual to be a little slow on Tuesdays.

“I really haven’t found it too inconvenient. Of course, it is inconvenient, but it could be worse,” he said, adding the businesses in the plaza are very popular and established places to frequent.

“I just don’t see it hindering the business too much,” Templin said.

He is also looking forward to how traffic will flow in front of Maricopa Business Center after the overpass is completed. With the addition of Plainview Street, traffic coming from Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway will flow over to John Wayne Parkway right in front of the plaza on Honeycutt Road.

“Six months of construction, but it’s worth it in the end,” Templin said.

InMaricopa is a tenant of Maricopa Business Plaza.

Work on the SR 347 overpass continues along Honeycutt Road, which will be closed until summer between Pershing Street and John Wayne Parkway. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

According to Arizona Department of Transportation, Honeycutt Road is scheduled to close at State Route 347 for several months, beginning Dec. 6.

That means there will be no access from Honeycutt Road to John Wayne Parkway as activity on the SR 347 overpass project picks up significantly entering the second phase of construction.

ADOT will continue to maintain two-way traffic on Honeycutt Road, allowing access to nearby businesses as well as Pershing Street. Honeycutt Road will be closed to all traffic between Pershing Street and SR 347.

On the same day Honeycutt Road is scheduled to close, ADOT will open a newly built road – Plainview Street – that will help drivers navigate around the construction area.

Following are the recommended detours for motorists who normally use Honeycutt Road:

Eastbound travel:

  • Access Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway (MCGH) from SR 347
    • Turn north on the new Plainview Street (located just west of the Maricopa Unified School District building)
    • Proceed east on Honeycutt Road

Westbound travel:

  • From Honeycutt Road, turn south on the new Plainview Street (located just west of the Maricopa Unified School District building) to MCGH
  • Travel northwest on MCGH to SR 347

The closure is needed for crews to begin widening and making other improvements, such as adding new sidewalks, curbs and gutters, to the south side of Honeycutt Road.

Crews will also begin building the new elevation for Honeycutt Road, which will connect with the new section of SR 347 once the overpass is built. In addition, a new signalized intersection at SR 347 and Honeycutt Road will be built during phase two of construction.

The closure of Honeycutt Road at SR 347 is anticipated to be in place until summer 2019.

Road construction on Plainview Street and Honeycutt Road continues with the installation of sidewalks, concrete curbs and gutters, and building of the subsurface for the future road. Paving is expected to take place Nov. 1, 8 and 9.

Pershing Street will be closed on the south side of Honeycutt for crews to conduct work in that area from Nov. 1-9. A detour will be in place to re-direct traffic to Maricopa Groves Parkway.

Excavation for the retaining walls on the South side of the Union Pacific Railway began this week, with crews working from south to north. Construction of the bridge also continues as abutments and pier cross-members are put in place to provide support for the structure.


Road construction on Plainview Street and Honeycutt Road continues with the installation of sidewalks, concrete curbs and gutters, and building of the subsurface for the future road. A portion of Plainview will be paved on Oct. 17, with the remainder of the road being paved Oct. 19-20. Plainview Street will continue to remain closed after the paving is completed.

The following overnight closures are scheduled on Honeycutt Road in front of the Maricopa Unified School District Transportation Facility, east of Pershing Street:

• From 10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, to 5 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 11.
• From 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, to 5 a.m. Friday, Oct. 12.

The closures are needed to remove and relocate a water valve under the street.

Construction of the bridge continues as pier cross members are put in place to provide additional support for the structure. The bridge structural work is taking place away from traffic between the hours of 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. one night during the week. MCG will remain open for travel during this time with traffic shifted away from the work zone.

Schedules are subject to change based on weather and other unforeseen factors.

Head to www.OverpassTracker.com for an overview of the project, frequent updates on traffic impacts, project timelines, maps and videos of what the project will look like when complete. The City of Maricopa has also established a 24/7 Hotline for you to call and get answers to more specific questions or concerns at 520-316-6910.

Gov. Doug Ducey, running for re-election, addresses the Pinal Partnership. Photo by Michelle Chance

Gov. Doug Ducey highlighted a major project in Maricopa during a Friday morning networking event in Casa Grande.

The discussion happened at The Property Conference Center June 1. The event was hosted by Pinal Partnership.

Ducey said he wants to bring “commitment for resources” toward infrastructure projects in the region like Maricopa’s future State Route 347 overpass.

“State Route 347 (overpass) is going to be traveled every morning and every evening,” Ducey said. “It can use some investment.”

The $55 million project was partially funded from the city, the Arizona Department of Transportation and a $15 million TIGER grant. The grade-separation is projected to transport motorists over the Union Pacific Railroad by 2019.

Ducey’s half-hour long speech touted legislative actions at the state level. On the top of the list were tax cuts and 160,000 new private sector jobs in Arizona since 2015, according to the governor.

“The last time unemployment was this low, you were renting your movies at Blockbuster,” Ducey said.

Education spending was also considered a victory.

Ducey approved funding for a 20 percent salary increase for teachers last month. One percent of that figure was dispersed to districts last school year.

“We just finished one of the most significant Legislative sessions in our state’s history. These are teachers that have earned this pay increase and they deserve it because Arizona children are improving faster in math and reading than any other kids in the country,” Ducey said.

Arizona is working to combat its challenges, according to its highest elected official.

Ducey outlined the state’s plan to combat the opioid addiction crisis that has stricken most of the country.

Tackling Arizona’s portion of the nation’s border security is an issue Ducey said requires a careful balance.

While combating human trafficking, drug cartels and illegal immigration at the Mexico border, Ducey said keeping a positive relationship with Arizona’s No. 1 trade partner is also priority.

“I don’t want to see us build a wall around the economy,” he said.

ADOT – Drivers in Maricopa should plan for tonight’s road restrictions due to pavement work that is needed as part of the Arizona Department of Transportation’s State Route 347 overpass project at the Union Pacific Railroad.

The following street and lane closures are scheduled to be in effect from 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 29, to 5 a.m. Wednesday, May 30:

• Honeycutt Road will be closed from SR 347 to Pershing Street.
• SR 347 will be reduced to one lane in each direction from Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway to just north of Honeycutt Road.
• Detour signage will be in place to direct motorists around the traffic restrictions.

The overnight closure is needed as construction continues to progress on the new SR 347 overpass.

The future above-grade structure will resolve traffic congestion created at the existing street-level intersection of the state roadway with the Union Pacific Railroad track. Learn more on the project web page.

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A freight train rolls by as subcontractors drill shafts for the overpass. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Construction crews are drilling around 30 shafts 40-70 feet deep, filling them with tied rebar and concrete to form the foundations to support the columns for the overpass, according to the City of Maricopa.  Crews are working next to the Amtrak station on the south side of Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway.

Construction crews are conducting removal of tree and debris in the project area as needed to clear the way for their work.  Later this week, crews will place a temporary driveway to the west of the existing driveway at the Amtrak Station at Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. The existing driveway will be removed and, later in the project the temporary driveway will be replaced with a permanent driveway in that location.

Next week (April 23) waterline crews will work to install water pipeline on the east side of SR 347 (off the roadway) beginning at Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway and moving in a northerly direction. This portion of the waterline work along SR 347 will ultimately cross Honeycutt Road and end just north of Honeycutt Road.

Also scheduled for next week, crews will begin drilling approximately 30 shafts from 40-70 feet deep, which will be filled with tied rebar and concrete to form the foundations to support the columns for the overpass.  Crews are currently working off the roadway to tie the rebar as part of this effort.

Head to www.OverpassTracker.com for an overview of the project, frequent updates on traffic impacts, project timelines, maps and videos of what the project will look like when complete. The City of Maricopa has also established a 24/7 Hotline for you to call and get answers to more specific questions or concerns at 520-316-6910.

The SR 347 Overpass will create a bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR.) Traffic on SR 347 averages more than 31,000 vehicles per day and future (2040) projections show over 60,000 vehicles per day. There are currently 40 to 60 trains per day; the UPRR has plans to expand service, which would increase train traffic upwards of 100 trains per day. Additionally, the Amtrak station is located just east of the intersection and vehicular traffic is routinely delayed for its passenger operations. The completion of the Overpass project will drastically ease traffic congestion and increase safety in the area.