Riggs Road extension to open June 3

Officials at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Riggs Road is complete from the new Rittenhouse intersection to the west. (Town of Queen Creek)

On June 3, motorists will have access to a new east-west connector in the southeast area of Queen Creek.

The Riggs Road extension, from Ellsworth to Meridian, is a two-phase process with construction and costs being split between the Maricopa County Department of Transportation and the Town of Queen Creek, according to a release.

MCDOT completed the first phase from Ellsworth to Crismon. The second phase, being led by the town, is anticipated to be complete in August. Motorists can also continue west on Riggs Road as it is fully improved west of Ellsworth Road, connecting to Gilbert and eventually the I-10 freeway, according to the release.

While Riggs Road is complete from the new Rittenhouse intersection to the west, improvements to Combs Road, east of Rittenhouse still need to be completed. This section includes the widening of the road at the railroad crossing and the Union Pacific improvements, Combs Road will be closed June 3-July 8.

Mayor Gail Barney

“We understand this closure provides a major inconvenience, but it is necessary for the safety of the workers and our motorists,” Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney said in the release. “I would like to thank our residents and visitors for their patience. As a resident myself, I understand road construction is frustrating, but it is a necessary part of improving our transportation system.”

Mayor Barney also highlighted the coordination and partnerships that made the project possible — from MCDOT and Pinal County to right-of-way acquisitions from a number of property owners. The Gila Indian River Community helped to ensure the historical village at the site was properly preserved and the Union Pacific Railroad is conducting the improvements at the railroad crossing.

Town Manager John Kross (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

“Transportation continues to be a priority with $240 million dedicated to infrastructure in the fiscal year 2019-20 budget, with $122 million specifically earmarked for road improvements,” Town Manager John Kross said in the release. “Riggs is an important milestone, touching on all areas of our Corporate Strategic Plan. From new lanes miles, safety enhancements and reduced commute times, Riggs Road is also improving regional connectivity.”

The Riggs Road extension includes one lane in each direction, bike lanes, curb, a sidewalk on the north and a realigned intersection at Rittenhouse. The roadway will be expanded to six lanes as development occurs in the area, with the new developments paying for the expansion.

The Riggs Road extension is just one of the improvements in the town’s infrastructure improvement plan. The Town Council-approved plan identifies $195 million in roadway needs, adding 91 new lane miles through 41 projects over the next 10 years. Projects within the plan are prioritized based on traffic volume and availability of alternate routes, according to the release.

Riggs Road will provide an alternate route during the Rittenhouse Road improvements. Widening Rittenhouse Road, south of Ocotillo Road, requires expanding the bridge at the Queen Creek Wash to four lanes and improving the bridge requires a complete closure of Rittenhouse Road. The project is currently being designed and will begin construction once the Riggs Road extension is complete, the release states.

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