Transportation projects took a big step forward in 2021

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Transportation issues are a constant topic of conversation. In 2021, the city made big strides toward long-term solutions for some of those issues. And while those solutions may be years away, they provide hope for managing traffic in town and better connecting the city to the Valley.

Ring Road
Both the Sonoran Desert Parkway, formerly known as the East-West Corridor, and Green Road overpass are part of a larger project initially introduced by city manager Rick Horst at the city’s 2020 planning meeting — a “Ring Road” around the city.
The proposed loop would allow residents of outer-lying communities to get to and from their homes — and the Valley — without having to drive through the middle of Maricopa.
Horst said the ring road will provide easier access to businesses that will begin to migrate away from the John Wayne Parkway corridor as the city grows and more homes are built farther from the city center. He said the road, which is slated to follow the Green Road alignment on the west side of town, will tie into McDavid Road.

“Right now, traffic is only going north and south because that’s the way the town goes,” Horst said. “But eventually, there are going to be commercial hubs everywhere, and traffic will redirect to bring people to those hubs and away from John Wayne Parkway.”
Preliminary routing has the road spurring off State Route 347 and moving west through the Gila River Indian Community north of Cobblestone Farms and then south to the Green Road alignment and the new overpass. Then it could connect with the Sonoran Desert Parkway running along the Farrell Road alignment, initially to Porter Road and eventually out to its eastern leg, which would run north-south along an alignment in the area of Hartman, Murphy or Anderson roads, then swinging back west to SR 347.

John Wayne Parkway Median Project
The city’s landscape and median improvement project on SR 347 from Honeycutt Road to the northern city limit began in August and will continue through mid-January.
The 2.15-mile beautification project includes plants, shrubs, decomposed granite, landscape irrigation, concrete, boulders, gabion baskets, steel light columns and artistic elements. There also will be a monument sign at the northern entrance to the city that, in preliminary renderings, shows the city’s stylized “M.”

Riggs Road Overpass
The Riggs Road overpass across State Route 347 took a huge step toward becoming reality in 2021 when the Arizona Legislature committed $35 million toward the project. Former state Sen. Bret Roberts of Maricopa was instrumental in pushing through the funding package.
The project will improve safety at the congested and dangerous intersection by building a bridge over 347 at Riggs Road and removing the traffic signal to dramatically improve traffic flow. The project would be a major step toward smoothing traffic congestion on SR347 and enhancing safety on the heavily trafficked route between Maricopa and the Valley.

Green Road Overpass
To accommodate growth in southwest Maricopa, the city will build a second overpass crossing the Union Pacific railroad tracks at Green Road. It will provide access to planned housing developments on the city’s west side and aid in the development of a John Wayne Parkway bypass route.
The overpass and other improvements to Green Road will be paid through developer impact fees. The project came about as the city studied traffic patterns that would be created with the coming development of Hogenes Farms, which spans 773 acres and could be home to more than 7,000 people.
Rodolfo Lopez, the city’s acting director of development services, said improvements on Green Road should begin within two years and take 12 to 24 months.

East/West Corridor
The city took the final steps in preparation for the construction of the initial 1.6-mile portion of the East-West Corridor, now known as Sonoran Desert Parkway, between John Wayne Parkway and Porter Road along the Farrell Road alignment. The parkway eventually will run from SR 347 to Interstate 10 incorporating stretches of the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway, giving residents on the south side of the city a more efficient route to connect with I-10.
Construction is scheduled to begin Jan. 10 and finish in March 2023. The project includes building a bridge across the Santa Cruz Wash as part of flood control measures in that area.

This year in review was first published in the January edition of InMaricopa magazine.