Map courtesy of City of Maricopa
by Blake Herzog
The City of Maricopa’s effort to build a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks near State Route 347 have received a major boost from its inclusion in a congressional infrastructure spending plan.
The City’s $2.7-million funding request for the bridge to U.S. Rep Tom O’Halleran, whose district includes Maricopa, was one of 15 he chose to submit for Congress’ consideration — he received more than 150 requests.
It was included in the 2023 appropriations bills approved by the House on July 20, while the U.S. Senate was expected to release its appropriations bills by the end of that month, Maricopa Deputy City Manager Benjamin Bitter said.
If both bills are approved by both houses of Congress, they’re expected to reach President Joe Biden’s desk in late summer or early fall, Bitter said.
City plans call for the bridge to be built over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks just west of state Route 347 to give walkers and bicyclists a safer option to cross than the road’s rail overpass, which was completed in 2019 and is used by nearly 60,000 vehicles every day.
It will give Maricopa High School students living north of the tracks a shorter route to reach the campus and is expected to spur further redevelopment of the city’s Heritage District by improving access.
“Maricopa is quickly becoming a destination city. We envision residents one day being able to ride a bike from the world-class PHX Surf park to the bustling shops at Maricopa Station and all that will surround it,” Bitter said. “This bridge gets us closer to reaching that goal.”
The total projected construction budget is $3.5 million, with the City funding the rest of the cost. The bridge design includes elevators to provide access for wheelchairs, bicycles and similar devices. Bitter said the plans are under review by Union Pacific, a process that could take up to a year.
Construction will begin as soon as the funding and a permit from the railroad