By Bob McGovern | InMaricopa
The overpass is a bridge to the city’s future.
City Manager Rick Horst makes his point by underlining the considerable commercial development underway or on the drawing board south of the bridge that will create jobs and bring tens of millions of dollars to the local economy.
Among those projects are Copper Sky Commercial district, boasting senior housing and a La Quinta hotel, and development along John Wayne Parkway, including the South Bridge plan to revitalize the old section of Maricopa just south of the railroad tracks and along the shoulders of the overpass.
“Another critical aspect of the new SR-347 railroad overpass is that the bridge also passes over the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. In 2011 and 2012, when the railroad bridge was being planned prior to beginning design, the City of Maricopa requested that their consultant devise a solution to the then-current congestion at the SR-347 intersection with the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. The congestion was certain to increase dramatically and hinder development of Maricopa south of the railroad. The new bridge over both the railroad and the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway seems an obvious solution now. Like all works of genius, before the idea, there was nothing.
Two previous consultants were completely unsuccessful in their attempts to develop a viable solution. One of the past ideas was a freeway interchange in the heart of Maricopa! The now-constructed solution required constructing a new road that allowed southbound SR-347 to exit right, curve west away from SR-347, then curve east to pass under the new bridge, to connect to the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. The new bridge also needed to be extended further north. Other traffic flow and design changes were also necessary. After the concept was presented, another public agency hired another traffic engineering consultant to develop a better solution for the street intersection north of the railroad. They couldn’t. The traffic engineer who succeeded when three other consultants could not? The consultant who developed the brilliant idea, that has since been constructed and has created a congestion-free-forever intersection of SR-347 and the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway? None other than Summit Land Management’s Traffic Engineering Manager, Paul Basha.” ~ Paul Basha, Traffic Engineer at Summit Land Management