The sign “Caution: Construction zone” is something Peoria drivers will see frequently over the next year.
As state and city projects will be dovetailing, the trade off of possible delays during construction are major new arteries and travel options in the fast-growing northwest portion of Peoria.
The Arizona Department of Transportation started a project to add a third lane in both directions along Loop 303 between Happy Valley and Lake Pleasant parkways.
New bridges over the Beardsley Canal and Jomax Parkway will also be constructed, as well as a new Loop 303 traffic interchange for the future Jomax Parkway in Peoria.
Meanwhile, at its Feb. 2 meeting, Peoria City Council was expected to approve a contract with J. Banicki Construction to construct Jomax Parkway.
Banicki’s bid for the Vistancia Boulevard to Loop 303 improvements: $3.5 million.
City Engineer Adina Lund said Peoria is doing its best to limit delays and detours for drivers.
“We will have traffic impacts when we’re doing the intersection of Vistancia Boulevard and Jomax Parkway, which will be installation of a traffic signal and widening,” she said.
Though she noted they “don’t have a time frame yet” for that portion of the project, the contract states work will be done at night to limit disruptions.
Just three weeks ago, bids were opened for the Jomax Parkway project.
“There were six bids received and J. Banicki Construction Inc. was determined to be the lowest responsive and responsible bidder,” according to the Feb. 2 agenda.
Construction is expected to begin in April and be completed by the end of the year.
“The city and ADOT are coordinating all aspects of construction and the planned opening of the new interchange,” the agenda noted.
Jomax Parkway from Vistancia Boulevard to Loop 303 is considered “a companion project” to ADOT’s Loop 303 widening project from Happy Valley Road to Lake Pleasant Parkway.
Both projects are part of the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Transportation Plan.
As ADOT constructs a new traffic interchange at Jomax, while the Banicki Construction city will extend Jomax Parkway to connect to Vistancia Boulevard.
A design consultant prepared a report extending Jomax Parkway to El Mirage Road, near the new Vistancia homes.
The report recommended a four-phased approach to connect the Tierra del Rio neighborhood, on the east side of the Loop 303, and Vistancia, on the west side of the freeway.
Vistancia Boulevard to the Loop 303 would be the first of the four segments.
“This project, segment 2 (Vistancia Boulevard to Loop 303) will provide for an additional access to Loop 303 and represents the most immediate need due to the current construction of the Jomax Parkway/Loop 303 Traffic Interchange and existing capacity issues at the Happy Valley Parkway/Loop 303 Traffic Interchange,” according to the agenda.
“The Northwest Valley is experiencing a surge in new home construction that has added to the capacity issues at the Happy Valley/Loop 303 interchange.
ADOT expects its $20 million widening project to address similar “capacity issues” by widening the Loop 303.
“The Arizona Department of Transportation is managing construction of the $20.3 million regional freeway project, which is designed to improve capacity for current and future traffic needs by adding a third lane in each direction along Loop 303 between Happy Valley and Lake Pleasant parkways in Peoria,” according to information on ADOT’s website.
Preliminary work began in December.
According to ADOT, “Crews are now constructing support piers for bridges to carry new mainline lanes of Loop 303 over the area where Jomax Parkway will connect to a new traffic interchange.
“The entire project is scheduled for completion by early 2022.”
ADOT’s project also will add new Loop 303 bridges over the Beardsley Canal.
“Loop 303 traffic in the area north of Happy Valley Parkway currently travels along two lanes in each direction in an interim configuration established when the freeway was first built nearly a decade ago,” according to ADOT.
No major traffic restrictions are expected during the current stage of construction work, which is taking place in the Loop 303 median.
But, ADOT noted, “Drivers should use caution near the existing work zones, temporary barrier walls along shoulders and watch for crews and equipment in the area.”
The Loop 303 project is funded as part of the Maricopa Association of Governments’ Regional Transportation Plan. Projects in the plan are funded in part by Proposition 400, a dedicated sales tax approved by Maricopa County voters in 2004.
There may be delays in the second phase of the ADOT project, when “Loop 303 traffic will be shifted to the new mainline on the inside and the Jomax Parkway improvements will be constructed.”
Lund noted ADOT and the city are coordinated the two projects, including completion timelines.
“We would love to be cutting that ribbon at the end of January (2022),” she said.
—Managing Editor Tom Scanlon can be reached at email@example.com.