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Traffic

ADOT tests markings to emphasize reduced limits as part of safety effort

SR 347 at Riggs Road (ADOT)

The Arizona Department of Transportation has added to the ways drivers see the posted speed limit on a stretch of State Route 347.

 

The speed limit is now displayed on the highway pavement in large white decals as part of an effort to improve safety along SR 347 between Interstate 10 and Riggs Road.

 

Testing the speed limit pavement decals is a first for ADOT’s Phoenix-area highways. Standard speed limit signs also are in place adjacent to where the decals have been added.

 

Traffic engineers recommended the pavement decals for SR 347 in areas where the speed limit drops as drivers approach intersections. Decals now help show the northbound speed limit transitions from 65 mph to 55 mph approaching the Maricopa Road intersection and from 55 mph to 45 mph as drivers approach the I-10/Queen Creek Road interchange.

ADOT

 

The pavement decals also are in place along southbound SR 347 approaching the Riggs Road intersection, where the speed limit drops from 65 mph to 55 mph.

 

ADOT’s review of law enforcement crash reports found that officers cited “speed too fast for conditions” as a driver violation in more than half of crashes along SR 347 between I-10 and Riggs Road.

 

Speed limit pavement decals also are being tested at one location along SR 160 in northeastern Arizona.

We are in the home stretch of the State Route 347 Overpass Project, with completion anticipated at the end of October.
Sept 26: Paving at Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway, Hathaway intersection and Alterra intersection
Sept. 27: Striping at Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway, Hathaway intersection and Alterra intersection
Sept. 30: Closure of Honeycutt Avenue (coincides with MUSD Fall Break)
Oct 11: Final alignment and striping
These dates are subject to change based on weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

ADOT

With a goal of reducing traffic congestion on Interstate 10 near Wild Horse Pass, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), Gila River Indian Community, and Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) invite the public to attend a public scoping meeting. The meeting is part of an environmental study and design concept report. The segment under study is on I-10 between Loop 202 and State Route 387 near Casa Grande.

The purpose of the study is to assess the impacts of expanding the capacity of I-10 from the Loop 202/Santan Freeway interchange to just south of the interchange at SR 387 to reduce traffic congestion in the study area.

Public Scoping Meeting
Sept. 19, 6–8 p.m.
Sacaton Boys and Girls Club, 116 S. Holly St., Sacaton

Public scoping is the first step of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental study process. The public scoping process provides the opportunity for the community to provide information to the study team about the corridor itself, as well as share issues or concerns the public may have about modifying I-10. The meeting will:

  • Provide an overview of the I-10 corridor, the study’s objectives, and the study’s schedule to the public.
  • Get community feedback on opportunities, issues, or concerns related to the study area.
  • Ask the public for input on potential corridor improvement alternatives.

This public feedback will help ADOT, the Gila River Indian Community, and MAG select a Preferred Alternative, either a Build Alternative or No-Build (“do nothing”) Alternative, for this section of I-10.

Comments provided by Oct. 3, 2019, will be included in the study record. There are several ways to submit comments during the scoping process:

Visit the website: i10wildhorsepasscorridor.com
Call the toll-free bilingual study line: 602-522-7777
Email: i10wildhorsepasscorridor@hdrinc.com
USPS Mail: I-10 Wild Horse Pass Corridor Study Team c/o HDR, Inc. 20 E. Thomas Road, Suite 2500, Phoenix AZ 85012

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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.

ADOT

The South Mountain Freeway’s first new interchange at 40th Street has opened on schedule, an important step forward for the state’s largest-ever freeway construction project.

The interchange is ready for traffic less than four months after 40th Street closed south of Cottonwood Lane to allow construction of the new interchange.

At 92 feet wide, the interchange has nearly double the capacity of the previous intersection of 40th Street and Pecos Road. It will have two southbound lanes that will continue south of the freeway, two left-turn lanes to eastbound Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway, and a right-turn lane to westbound Loop 202. There also are two northbound lanes, with a left-turn lane to westbound Loop 202, and a dedicated northbound left-turn lane into the Park & Ride parking lot.

The fully functioning interchange includes ramps that will allow drivers to enter and exit the future freeway lanes in both directions. While construction continues, speed limits will remain at 40 mph on both future freeway lanes and the remaining sections of Pecos Road.

In addition, the Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino and the Phoenix Premium Outlets will be accessible either from I-10 and Wild Horse Pass Boulevard, or by taking 40th Street south to Willis Road.

The 22-mile freeway is scheduled for full completion in 2020, although traffic is expected to begin using the freeway earlier.

For information on the project, visit SouthMountainFreeway.com.

More than two people are killed every day on U.S. roads by drivers blowing through red lights, according to data analysis performed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, and Arizona is one of the worst.

The report shows Arizona again has the highest rate of red-light running fatalities per capita in the nation. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety put the number at 7.1 deaths per 100,000.

Though the most recent AAA data is from 2017, it is a 10-year high. In Arizona from 2008 to 2017, 352 people were killed in collisions caused by red-light running.

Nearly half of all deaths were occupants of a vehicle hit by the person running the red light. Of those 352 deaths, 119 people killed (33.8 percent) were the red-light running driver, 49 people (13.9 percent) were passengers of the red-light running driver, and 22 people (6.3 percent) were pedestrians or cyclists.

“Drivers who decide to run a red light when they could have stopped safely are making a reckless choice that puts other road users in danger,” said AAA Arizona spokesperson Aldo Vazquez.  “The data shows that red light running continues to be a traffic safety challenge. All road safety stakeholders must work together to change behavior and identify effective countermeasures.”

According to the AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index, 85 percent of drivers view red-light running as very dangerous, yet nearly one in three say they blew through a red light within the past 30 days when they could have stopped safely. More than two in five drivers also say it is unlikely they’ll be stopped by police for running a red light.

“Drivers who decide to run a red light when they could have stopped safely are making a reckless choice that puts other road users in danger,” said AAA Arizona Spokesperson Aldo Vazquez.  “The data shows that red light running continues to be a traffic safety challenge. All road safety stakeholders must work together to change behavior and identify effective countermeasures.”

AAA is using the data to push for implementation of red-light cameras as law enforcement and deterrent.

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.

State legislator Mark Finchem speaks with residents of Hidden Valley. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Republican Mark Finchem and Democrat Tom O’Halleran agree on at least one thing regarding Interstate 11. Both expect to be deceased before the proposed roadway becomes a reality.

Finchem, a District 11 state representative spoke to Hidden Valley residents last week in a gathering attended by Blanca Varela, a representative from Congressman O’Halleran’s office, at Mountain View Community Church.

The proposed interstate is a long-range goal of Arizona Department of Transportation and is expected to pass through Hidden Valley south of Maricopa.

While Finchem has been outspoken against I-11, O’Halleran has remained neutral. Varela said the congressman had expressed to her the project was too far off for him to take a stand.

Projections are for construction of I-11 in Arizona to begin in 25 to 30 years, if it is approved.

As a Republican, Finchem said he was a voice in the wilderness asking the process to slow down.

“I’ll be the first one to disclose that I’m at odds with the Pinal County supervisors and some folks that are elected officials in the [City] of Maricopa,” Finchem said. “They see economic development for an expressway coming up. Well, maybe.”

County Supervisor Anthony Smith and Mayor Christian Price have expressed support for an I-11 route that would sweep close to south Maricopa as it travels from Mexico to Wickenburg. Its ultimate destination is Las Vegas, Nevada. Smith said at an Aug. 8 GOP gathering in Maricopa there may be a decision on the route details by spring.

Several residents of Hidden Valley are already opposed to the idea because of the choice of route that would cut through Hidden Valley, taking a handful of existing homes. They have been pushing for a route that would take Interstate 8 traffic to Gila Bend and then north to west Phoenix.

Finchem has not warmed to the idea of any route. He said the push for I-11 was a sign priorities are off.

“We have secondary roads, county roads, that are in such a state of disrepair that generally you have to drive about 15 mph below the speed limit just so you don’t rattle yourself to death,” he said. “We don’t have financial resources to pay for even more roadway that’s going to require maintenance.”

He said he preferred infrastructure projects that support areas where growth has already occurred. Primarily, he pushed for rail to accomplish what he said is the main purpose of I-11.

“The justification for I-11 has been freight. Not passenger-car traffic. It’s freight,” he said. “I’m missing something here. Let’s move the freight from Mexico to a switching yard and railyard on the west side of Phoenix, which, by the way, is more jobs, offload the trailers and tractors, pair them up, and they can go on to the piece of road that’s already there.”

Both Finchem and Varela said a “huge mistake” constituents make when providing public comment on projects like I-11 is “signing their name to somebody else’s letter.” While organized groups may find it convenient to copy a letter written by one of them and have everyone send it in individually with their own name attached, Finchem said it becomes obvious fairly quickly.

“All of those letters, in our minds, count as one,” he said.

Varela said personal letters about personal impact carry much more weight.

Blanca Varela (left) represents the office Congressman Tom O’Hallern at the meeting. Next to her is Maryeileen Flanagan, one of the organizers of an anti-I-11 campaign in Hidden Valley. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

An officer checks out an Acura while the driver is arrested behind him in the window's reflection after an afternoon collision on John Wayne Parkway. Photos by Kyle Norby

A rollover accident in the southbound lanes of John Wayne Parkway north of Smith-Enke Road stopped traffic next to Cobblestone Farms at the beginning of rush hour.

The incident involved two vehicles at the intersection of JWP and Cobblestone Drive. An Acura collided with a Nissan Armada, and the Acura rolled up on its side.

First responders checked out both drivers at the scene. The driver of the Acura was cuffed by Maricopa Police Department on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

According to MPD, the Acura swerved to avoid another vehicle and clipped the Armada, which suffered tire and back end damage.

A local man died, and two people were injured in a crash Sunday night.

According to Maricopa Police Department, the one-vehicle rollover occurred near the junction of Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway and Hartman Road at around 10:30 p.m. The three occupants were ejected.

The male driver was deceased at the scene. A female passenger received a serious injury to her arm, according to MPD, and the other female passenger had non-life-threatening injuries.

“Impairment and speed are considered a factor,” MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado stated.

The identities have not been released, though occupants were apparently from Ak-Chin Indian Community and Thunderbird Farms.

 

ADOT – The southbound lanes of State Route 347 are closed due to a crash at milepost 188, the junction of Maricopa Road west of Interstate 10, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. Traffic is getting around in the right turn lane.

There is a heavy backup between Maricopa Road and I-10. Drivers should consider an alternate route, such as Riggs Road. There is no estimated time to reopen the southbound lanes. The northbound lanes are unaffected.

At least one person was injured when cars collided. Photo by Kyle Norby

A traffic collision at the intersection of Smith-Enke Road and Desert Greens Drive resulted in injuries to at least one person, who needed a team of first responders to be extracted from the vehicle. The incident occurred around 1:30 p.m. as one vehicle on Desert Greens collided with the driver’s side front end of the other sedan. Only one lane of traffic was blocked as police and fire worked the scene. AMR ambulance also responded.

While many Maricopa commuters have fantasies about the stoplight on State Route 347 at Riggs Road going away and becoming an overpass, the state looks set to create another stoplight on SR 347.

A project in the works would put traffic lights at the intersection of Old Maricopa Road, which is about halfway between the Riggs Road intersection and the Interstate 10 exchange. It is in Maricopa County within the Gila River Indian Community. In fact, Old Maricopa Road is an access to Wild Horse Pass Casino and other GRIC properties.

“We had zero control over this,” Mayor Christian Price said, anticipating blowback from Maricopa drivers.

Brandon Nguyen, an environmental planner with Arizona Department of Transportation, sent out a letter to stakeholders describing the scope of the project. A three-way traffic light would allow traffic coming off Old Maricopa Road to turn left. Currently, those drivers can only turn right.

“These improvements are needed to minimize traffic delays and to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes at the intersection,” Nguyen wrote.

In recent years, wrong-way drivers or impatient drivers have caused fatal collisions at that intersection. Price said he understood the safety concerns because there have been four incidents that triggered a warrant for a traffic signal there.

During special events at Wild Horse Pass, temporary traffic lights at that intersection are already used at a cost of about $18,000 for GRIC. New lights would function the same way but on a permanent basis. Nguyen pointed out that because the work would be entirely within an existing right of way, no easements would need to be acquired.

The City of Maricopa has been pushing ADOT and Maricopa County to get on board with Pinal County’s idea of widening SR 347 in both directions from Maricopa to I-10. What impact a new traffic light may have on those designs is not clear. But it is apparent the opinion of the City of Maricopa had little bearing on the decision.

“The City has no official statement, as that project is a collaboration between ADOT and the Gila River Indian Community, and we have not been part of the planning of the project,” spokesman Adam Wolfe said.

Though having no authority in the decision-making, Price said he did speak to planners to ask for concessions.

“When I found out about this, I knew we couldn’t stop it from happening, but I could go and voice my concerns,” Price said. “I asked them, ‘Can it be a light that is fluid? Can it be red only when someone is coming out of an event?’”

His idea would have the lights only stop traffic on SR 347 during events. The rest of the time, the intersection would function just as it does now, with SR 347 traffic not stopping and no left turn allowed off Old Maricopa Road.

The project is planned to start May 2020, with construction lasting six months. ADOT is seeking feedback from stakeholders on the project through July 6.

The transition of the intersection into a traffic signal will include the “obliteration” of current roadway markings, installation of traffic poles, conduit and controller cabinet, restriping, removal of “No Left Turn” signs and installation of new, larger “Do Not Enter” and “Wrong Way” signs “to meet current design standards.”

Nguyen anticipates single-lane closures on SR 347 and lane shifts on Old Maricopa Road during the construction of the intersection. There may even be a short, full closure of the road when pole mast arms are put in place.


This story appears in the July issue of InMaricopa.

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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.

(ADOT)

UPDATE: The deceased driver has been identified as Alex Beckley, 42, of Maricopa. A passenger in the vehicle was also injured.

____________________________________________________________________

UPDATE: ADOT says SR 347 is now open in both directions. The incident is now listed as a fatality.

____________________________________________________________________

UPDATE: Southbound lanes have now re-opened. There is no estimate for opening the northbound lanes.

____________________________________________________________________

At least one person was critically injured in a one-vehicle crash on State Route 347 that caused the current closure of northbound and southbound lanes between Casa Blanca Road and Riggs Road.

According to the Department of Public Safety, the incident was reported at 3:43 p.m. south of Riggs. The initial report indicated a northbound passenger vehicle had rolled over and crossed into southbound traffic lanes. Two people were reported to be involved but one is unresponsive, a DPS spokesman stated.

Gila River Indian Community first responders are on scene. Investigators are interviewing multiple witnesses.

According to DPS, tire failure may have been a factor.

There is no estimated time to reopen the highway, according to the Department of Transportation. Traffic is being directed to Interstate 10 at both ends of the affected area.

RIGHT NOW: Crews are on the scene of a serious crash near State Route 347 between Riggs and Casa Blanca Roads near Maricopa.DETAILS: http://bit.ly/2WeCN2Y

Posted by FOX 10 Phoenix on Friday, May 31, 2019

 

Where Honeycutt Road meets White and Parker is often a traffic backup during morning rush hour. Photo by Jim Headley

 

While Maricopa might be considered small by some, in-town traffic is starting to become a problem.

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 the installation of a stoplight at the intersection of Honeycutt and White and Parker roads.

Heavy traffic flows out of Tortosa, Rancho Mirage and Sorrento subdivision every morning between 7 and 8:30 a.m. Drivers are heading into town, or north onto Smith-Enke Road and ultimately State Route 347 as they travel to the Phoenix metro area for work.

The bottleneck at Honeycutt and White and Parker backs up 15 to 20 minutes daily during the morning rush and again in the afternoon. The problem is exacerbated during the school year when the two schools in Tortosa – Santa Cruz Elementary and Desert Winds Middle School – let out classes.

“We have already reached out to a consultant to get them under contract for the design of that stoplight,” said Joshua Plumb, city engineer. “This fiscal year, starting in July, we will be constructing that traffic signal.”

Plumb said everything identified as a CIP project in the new budget is top priority for staff to complete.

“We will start design at the beginning of the year. Design is usually a six-month process but probably faster for a traffic signal,” he said. “This has some civil work with it. We will probably be doing construction in early 2020.”

The cost of a traffic signal is generally $250,000 to $350,000, according to Plumb, but this one will cost a little more as the intersection will be realigned and a right turn lane will be added to westbound Honeycutt onto northbound White and Parker.

Bowlin Road will also be extended to the east, into the Rancho Mirage subdivision, which is expected to relieve even more stress on the Honeycutt and White and Parker intersection.

“That is also on our CIP for next year,” Plumb said. “We are going to put in an elevated water crossing through the wash so vehicles can traverse the wash. That is not possible right now. It will be a temporary pavement connection on Bowlin Road. It’s not going to be a permanent road, but it will allow traffic to go back and forth.”

The completion of all the city’s CIP projects, including the stoplight at Honeycutt Road and White and Parker is contingent on the approval of the new budget coming before the city council in early June.

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.

Maricopa hosted a kickoff meeting to find solutions to SR 347 traffic. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

With bumper-to-bumper traffic and frequent collisions on State Route 347 making it the hottest topic for Maricopans, there are plans afoot to study improvement alternatives to the roadway in both Pinal and Maricopa counties.

Monday, representatives of the City of Maricopa met three hours with counterparts from Pinal County, Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), Federal Highway Administration and Wilson & Company to kickoff the studies.

“This study is just so important to this area,” said Charon Hill, MAG project manager.

Amy Moran, senior project manager for Wilson & Company, which has completed transportation studies for the City of Maricopa, said the purpose of the studies is to develop alternatives and evaluate strategies.

Alternatives named by residents include adding lanes and building overpasses. Ken Smith of HDR said the current realities of SR 347 will stymie economic growth in the area.

Andy Smith, general manager of Pinal Regional Transportation Authority, updated the group on the current lawsuit aimed at the funding of voter-approved improvements. The Goldwater Institute sued the Arizona Department of Revenue, Pinal County and PRTA on behalf of the Arizona Restaurant Association over Prop 417, which passed in 2017 as a sales tax to fund transportation projects.

Though the Arizona Tax Court ruled in favor of the ARA, the PRTA has submitted its paperwork to the Arizona Court of Appeals and is awaiting response from the Goldwater Institute.

Meanwhile, the county is still allowed to collect the tax, which has brought in about $13.6 million. Smith said that was within $100,000 of expectations.

Moran said the new studies are meant to help build consensus on SR 347 decisions.

“We recognize there have been a ton of studies done on this corridor,” she said.

However, two invitees not attending the kickoff were the Gila River and Ak-Chin communities. Hill said she would make new efforts to get them involved in future meetings.

That includes the next gathering, planned as a corridor vision workshop in April.

Concerns voiced at Monday’s session included safety issues, future costs and maintenance, failure to align with what stakeholders and the public want, building to standard, educating the public, how long improvement will take to create and how long they will last.

Carlos Lopez of ADOT noted activity on the proposed Interstate 11 is also expected in April with a draft environmental impact statement. David Maestas, transportation manager for the City of Maricopa, explained meetings on I-11 had been delayed until now by the government shutdown.

Andy Smith said it was important to remember the possible impact on SR 347 of any changes to other corridors, whether it is Interstate 10 and its access roads or future roadways like I-11, which is expected to take southern Arizona to the west side of the Valley and up to Las Vegas.

 

Stop signs will be placed at the intersection of Edison Road and Butterfield Parkway on Thursday at 6 a.m. to improve the safety of the surrounding communities.

Currently, there is only a stop sign for eastbound traffic entering Butterfield Parkway. The new configuration will force traffic to stop in all directions. It is expected to significantly increase safety. The stop signs are being inserted to help slow down traffic and allow for easier traffic merging through the intersection.

This intersection has seen an increase in traffic due to the closure of Honeycutt Road as part of the State Route 347 Overpass Project.

A customer fuels his car at Circle K north in Maricopa. Photo by Jim Headley

A number of people who purchased gasoline at Circle K’s Smith-Enke Road and John Wayne Parkway location in Maricopa experienced serious damage to their vehicles.

Michelle Schaefer of Maricopa said she purchased gas at Circle K late Friday afternoon.

“I put in about $20 worth of gas in on the middle grade of pump six – the 89 (octane) grade,” Schaefer said. “I proceeded to go home. I live about two miles from Circle K. I had no issues. I parked the car and the next morning I went out to the vehicle and started having issues. It started kind of funny. It was sputtering, and it wouldn’t accelerate correctly. It was almost like I was running out of gas.”

Schaefer said she was going to work. It is six miles from her house to her office.

“I could barely make it. I was going 10 mph and couldn’t accelerate,” Schaefer said. “I was finally able to make it to the parking lot.”

She called for a tow truck and had her car taken to Camelback Volkswagen in Phoenix.

“The tow truck driver from Knight Towing came to my office on Saturday about 4:30 or 5 in the evening,” Schaefer said. “He asked, ‘Did you happen to get gas at Circle K?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I did, why do you ask?’ He said I was the 12th car he had towed in the last day (and) they all got gas at Circle K.”

The driver said he thought there was an issue with the gasoline from Circle K, according to Schaefer.

She made a post on Facebook about her issues with the gasoline, and others in the city reacted quickly as they were having gasoline problems too. More than a dozen reported their vehicles stopped.

“It was pretty apparent that there was a huge issue,” she said. “There were pictures of people’s gas that they had to have siphoned out of their tanks that looked like rainwater.”

Schaefer said her car was in the shop over the weekend at the dealership. She called them early Monday and advised them about the suspected gasoline problem.

Camelback Volkswagen wrote to Schaefer, “We have a sample of your fuel. It is more rainwater than fuel. You are definitely going to want to go after the gas station.”

Schaefer said repairing the car was estimated by Camelback to cost $1,303. The estimate covered draining the tank and lines, replacing the fuel pump, fuel filter and spark plugs, and labor.

Schaefer said she is the sole provider for her family of six. Without a car, she’s had to rely on taxis and Lyft drivers.

“I have experienced missed hours of work. It is impacting my life in a huge way and I’m very frustrated,” Schaefer said. “I really hope Circle K does the right thing and takes care of it. I don’t have that kind of money lying around.”

Schaefer said she called the Circle K Arizona Division offices and filed a complaint.

“They said on the phone they did have an issue with that store,” she said, adding they would take her information down and forwarded it to the correct person.

Schaefer said as of Monday afternoon she had yet to speak with “the correct person” with Circle K. She was told that someone would contact her within 24 hours.

“I’m hoping that because they are admitting that they have an issue, that they are going to take care of it. At this point, I really don’t know,” she said.

Donna Humphrey, spokesperson for Circle K’s Arizona Division offices in Phoenix, had this advice for affected customers.

A traffic collision is blocking lanes in both directions on SR 347 near Riggs Road. ADOT

Two collisions on State Route 347 are causing traffic tie-ups.

Maricopa Police Department is reporting a “major crash” near the intersection of SR 347 and Lakeview Drive. The northbound lanes were blocked, and traffic became gridlocked at the south Cobblestone light and the Smith-Enke Road light. Maricopa Fire/Medical also responded. Though the scene is clearing, traffic remains backed up.

A collision in the southbound lanes of SR 347 north of the Riggs Road light has both northbound and southbound down to one lane. Gila River and Sun Lakes first responders are on scene. According to the Department of Public Safety, several people are being transported to Banner Desert Hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

ADOT

 

A three-vehicle collision injured motorists and stopped traffic on Smith-Enke Road Tuesday night.

None of the injuries was life-threatening.

The collision occurred after 8 p.m. between the intersections of Porter Road and DR Horton Drive. One vehicle reportedly swerved into oncoming traffic.

A second traffic incident occurred around the same time at the intersection of John Wayne Parkway and Edison Road when a vehicle went into a ditch. No injuries were reported.

Intestate 10 near Casa Blanca exchange.

 

A newly approved study will examine potential capacity and other upgrades to Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Casa Grande.

The study will be led by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), in partnership with Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) and Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). The I-10 evaluation is expected to take about 18 months to complete, including an expected cost and phasing strategy.

Recently, the Gila River Indian Community Council agreed to participate in the study, which will establish an overall master plan for the corridor.

“The Gila River Indian Community is very appreciative of MAG for spearheading this effort, and we look forward to being part of the team that completes this study,” said GRIC Gov. Stephen R. Lewis. “The Community believes this study will help ensure the safety of the Community’s members and residents of the surrounding municipalities as they travel the I-10 corridor and promote development both on and off the Gila River Indian Reservation.”

The goal is to identify major elements that will need to be improved or replaced and determine how to provide the necessary capacity to meet current and future travel demand. The bridge across the Gila River and the interchange at Casa Blanca Road are two examples of existing structures that may have to be replaced.

“As ADOT has made significant investments through the years to increase I-10 capacity between the state’s two largest metropolitan areas, our plans for the 23 miles across the Gila River Indian Community have always recognized the sovereign tribal authority over this area,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski.

MAG has allocated about $65.5 million for improvements to the portion of I-10 in Maricopa County.

The I-10 study will be coordinated with a study being conducted by MAG in partnership with GRIC for State Route 347, which connects the City of Maricopa to I-10 across the Gila River Indian Community. MAG serves the metropolitan Phoenix area, including the City of Maricopa.

MAG Chair Gail Barney, mayor of Queen Creek, said GRIC input would be an important part of the I-10 study. The economic development activities being pursued by the Wild Horse Pass Development Authority in the northern section of GRIC will be considered in the study.

 

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ADOT

Drivers who use State Route 347 should plan for an overnight lane closure as Arizona Department of Transportation crews perform pavement-preservation work.

Northbound SR 347 will be narrowed to one lane between Riggs Road and Interstate 10 from 9 p.m. Sept. 13 to 5 a.m. Sept. 14.

ADOT will maintain one lane of travel northbound on SR 347, but delays are possible. Drivers should slow down and use caution around crews and equipment.

Schedules are subject to change based on weather and other unforeseen factors. For more information, please call the ADOT Project Information Line at 855-712-8530 or email Projects@azdot.gov.

ADOT photo

Department of Public Safety is investigating the cause of a five-vehicle collision that claimed the lives of a Maricopa woman and two children Wednesday.

The fiery crash occurred at approximately 9:52 a.m. in the westbound lanes of Interstate 10 between Wild Horse Pass Boulevard and Queen Creek Road.

Kim Frankel, 46, who had been a long-time teacher at Maricopa Unified School District, and her two young passengers, described as infants by DPS, were declared deceased at the scene.

The roadside tragedy was initiated in the eastbound lanes.

A 41-year-old commercial tractor-trailer driver from Mesa was traveling east on I-10 when he veered sharply left for an unknown reason. The tractor trailer struck a Chevy Tahoe, sending both vehicles through the median and over the cable barriers into westbound traffic.

Three vehicles, including the Toyota van driven by Frankel, were struck by the tractor-trailer rig.

Frankel’s van and the tractor trailer reportedly burst into flames after the crash, according to DPS. The driver of the tractor trailer sustained injuries and was transported to the hospital.

Two adults and two juvenile passengers in other vehicles were also transported to nearby hospitals for injuries.

The fatal crash shutdown the major artery into Phoenix for the entire day. Westbound lanes reopened around 6:45 p.m. that evening.

The DPS investigation is still ongoing.

https://www.gofundme.com/frankel-family-support

ADOT photo

Troopers with the Arizona Department of Safety are investigating the cause of a one-vehicle accident on State Route 347 Tuesday morning.

The rollover crash reportedly occurred Aug. 28 at approximately 8:38 a.m. about a half-mile south of Casa Blanca Road.

“Preliminary information is the female driver of a passenger vehicle lost control of the vehicle, which rolled over and into a fence,” said DPS spokesman Quentin Mehr.

Emergency responders transported the driver to Chandler Regional Hospital. The extent of her injuries is unknown at this time.

Traffic in the area is slowed, but no lane closures are reported.

 

 

Photo by Mason Callejas

At least one person was injured in a collision Thursday at the intersection of Porter Road and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway.

A PT Cruiser and a pickup truck were involved in the incident, which caused temporary lane closures. A woman was described as having lacerations from broken glass.

MPD is directing traffic at the location while investigating. The incident occurred around noon.

Water is over the road at both crossings on Rancho El Dorado Parkway.

Maricopa Police Department has closed both wash crossings on Rancho El Dorado Parkway due to water on the road.

Tucson and other communities south of the Maricopa area continue to have rain and flood warnings. That water is expected to flow north through the Santa Rosa Wash.

There is a flash flood watch in place until 8 p.m. for Pima County and southern and western Pinal County.

InMaricopa photo

Danger on the road rose last year in Maricopa, according to a state report published Tuesday.

The 2017 Crash Facts for the State of Arizona, an annual summary prepared by the Arizona Department of Transportation, showed vehicle accidents increased nearly 5 percent within city limits from the year before.

There were 298 automobile accidents reported in Maricopa in 2017 – earning the city a third-place rank in Pinal County for the highest number of crashes behind Casa Grande (761) and Apache Junction (456).

Maricopa placed second in the county in the number of alcohol-related crashes last year.

The city experienced 25 accidents that involved alcohol, up from 11 crashes in 2016. Casa Grande again led the category with 26 crashes; Apache Junction followed Maricopa with 21.

In 2017, people injured from alcohol related crashes rose by one (from 9 people the year before to 10).

There were zero crash fatalities attributed to alcohol last year. One death was caused by an alcohol-related crash in 2016.

Maricopa placed third in the number of injury accidents (87), number of property damage only crashes (210), and the number of persons injured in accidents (117). Casa Grande and Apache Junction preceded Maricopa respectively in rank in each of those categories in 2017.

A positive statistic reported in the data showed auto fatalities lowered from the year before.

The number of people killed in Maricopa auto accidents reportedly decreased from three deaths in 2016 to one fatality last year, according to the report.

The statewide report used data compiled from Arizona Traffic Crash Reports that are submitted to ADOT by state, county, city, tribal and other law enforcement agencies, according to the report.

Unincorporated area statistics are not broken down in the summary. View the report here.

Pinal County experienced nearly 4,000 traffic accidents last year – No. 3 in the state behind Maricopa County (93,596) and Pima County (11,707).

In 2017, 1,000 people were killed on roadways statewide.