A tentative state budget leaked last week shows legislators have set aside more than $30 million toward improvements on State Route 347 between Maricopa and Chandler.
Lawmakers are still negotiating a budget, which has a July 1 deadline for approval.
The funding for SR 347 is broken down into three areas:
- An increase for inflation from the 2022 budget of $2.6 million for design and easements for the Riggs Road overpass across SR 347;
- An increase for inflation from the 2022 budget of $8.8 million for construction of the Riggs Road overpass;
- $19 million for design costs for the widening of SR 347 between Maricopa and the Valley.
The leaked budget also contains $15 million for a Tier II study of the proposed North-South Corridor that would link the far East Valley with Pinal County. That highway would run down the eastern part of the county from U.S. 60 through San Tan Valley, between Coolidge and Florence, and link with I-10 between Eloy and Picacho.
According to Benjamin Bitter, deputy city manager for Maricopa, the Riggs Road overpass is the Arizona Department of Transportation’s first priority.
“The Riggs Road interchange will be in the first phase of improvements of the SR-347 widening project,” he said. “ADOT currently has it listed on their Active Project List for Construction in 2025.”
Bitter added the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Council is set to meet tomorrow to consider acceptance of the SR-347 Scoping Study which was recently completed.
That study provides detailed cost estimates for design, right-of-way and construction developed in September 2021 that should generally reflect current prices. It also provides an implementation plan that highlights prioritization and time frames for completion of various segments.
While SR 347 is the city’s top transportation priority, Bitter said the City and the Pinal Regional Transportation Authority are working on several highway and traffic solutions, including resurrecting Proposition 417, the funding mechanism for Pinal County roads struck down earlier this year by the Arizona Supreme Court.
“We remain active participants in the PRTA, and anticipate that the Pinal County Board of Supervisors will soon authorize language to be placed on the November ballot, which would fund the improvements listed in the Regional Transportation Plan,” Bitter said.
“This includes tens of millions of dollars dedicated to improvements along SR-347, and tens of millions of additional dollars for the city’s secondary access, the Sonoran Desert Parkway. Funds would also be reserved for the preservation of the right-of-way for the future I-11, which will pass through Maricopa’s future planning area.”
The Sonoran Desert Parkway broke ground Monday.
Should the ballot measure fail in November, Bitter said the county and Regional Transportation Authority will have to seek other sources for funding – a process that would likely delay the delivery of transportation projects outlined in the regional plan.