News Ticker

Hunt Highway Widening to Boost Economic Development

Phase I of the Hunt Highway widening project. Photo credit: roselawgroupreporter.com

Source: Pinal County

It’s been five months since construction on the first phase of Hunt Highway has been completed. Although it was only a two-mile stretch from Empire Boulevard to Thompson Road, the completion of Phase 1 has started a big interest from companies wanting to move their venture to San Tan Valley.

“Just by completing one section of this road it has opened the eyes of businesses from across the state and the country,” said Chairwoman Cheryl Chase. “It only shows you how desperately that road widening was really needed.”

Construction began on the Phase 1 widening on Oct.16, 2013 and was completed on Aug. 29, 2014.

“There was a lot riding on the successful completion of this first phase,” stated Public Works Director Louis Andersen. “Many people travel that road daily. We wanted to make sure we get that section done within the proposed time and within the proposed budget. In the end, the project was done a month early and $200K under budget. It was a win-win for everyone.”

After a competitive bidding process, a Tempe-based company – SKANSKA came in 6.2 percent under the engineers estimate to construct the expansion.

“I was impressed that we were that far under budget,” said Chairwoman Chase. “Roads are not exactly cheap to build. After I saw the finished project, I can say to our residents – you got your money’s worth from this expansion. I’m hoping the other phases of widening are just as easy and under budget.”

In early January, the Public Works Department began construction on Phase 2 that will widen Hunt Highway from Thompson Road to Mountain Vista Boulevard. Construction is slated to last until September (AZBEX, Nov. 17, 2014).

“Just the fact that the Board of Supervisors placed Hunt Highway as a priority and had Phase 1 completed showed a lot of businesses that this county is serious about bringing needed infrastructure to this area,” said Economic Development Director Tim Kanavel. “I can tell you right now that some large retail operations, who were on the fence about moving here, are now making plans to bring their operations to San Tan Valley.”

Kanavel stated that the recent developments with larger retail operations looking to move to San Tan Valley, because of the Hunt Highway widening, shows a direct correlation between economic development and good infrastructure like roads and public services.

“Before the Phase 1 widening, you had eighty to ninety thousand people without a lot of services,” Kanavel said. “A company could not justify bringing their operations here if it was troublesome to get to their stores. Now we are seeing people lining up to come here.

In December 2014, the Board of Supervisors approved of a bond that will finance the widening of Hunt Highway up to Arizona Farms Road. A timeline for completion is still being developed.