By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants to two major projects in Arizona.
The City of Maricopa was awarded $15M for the grade separation project on SR 347. Arizona Department of Transportation will construct a highway overpass where 347 intersects with the Union Pacific railroad.
The existing at-grade intersection is used by more than 34,000 vehicles and 60 trains daily. The competition for access has created congestion and long-standing safety concerns. Creating an alternative to the current intersection has been a top concern for the city since its incorporation in 2003.
Maricopa and ADOT first partnered in 2006 to fund a design concept report, and the city has aggressively sought funding and partnership since 2009 to keep the project moving forward in the aftermath of the recession.
The project is planned in phases, with different lead entities. ADOT will handle the overpass. Amtrak is providing a temporary station extension to mitigate stopping traffic on the roadway. Maricopa will take the lead on creating a future Amtrak station to be built before the overpass. The city has begun relocating the passenger station and building rail siding to enable the loading and unloading of passengers off the main rail line.
The currently proposed timeline and funding plan for the project are:
- FY 2015: $5.5M for design and $500K for right of way
- FY 2016: $5.5M for right of way
- FY 2017: $7.3M for right of way
- FY: 2020: 36.2M for construction.
Grand Canal Path Development Project Awarded $10.3M
The other TIGER grant was awarded to the City of Phoenix for funding of Phase II of the Grand Canalscape Project being created by the city and Salt River Project (AZBEX, Sept. 1).
The $10.3M funds the building of eight miles of paved multi-use path along the canal between I-17 and the Tempe border, as well as new pedestrian bridges, lighting, crosswalk beacons and neighborhood connection access.
The development will be linked with Phase I of the Grand Canalscape currently under design. Phase 1 creates six miles of path next to the canal between 15th Avenue and 16th Street on the west side of the project and from Garfield to Van Buren streets on the east. Phase 1 design is expected to be completed in March, with construction planned to begin in August.
Asked about earning the grant award, Kerry Wilcoxon of the Phoenix Street Transportation Department said, “It was unexpected, but it’s a fantastic project, and it’s the realization of a lot of people’s hard work and a lot of people’s vision over the years. It’s great to be getting the award now, and it’s going to be fantastic when the project is complete.”
Ultimately, the project’s goal is to create continuous path between Glendale and Tempe along the Grand Canal. The eastern segment is planned for completion between mid-2018 and 2019, depending on funding.