A choreographed click of scissors and falling white ribbon celebrated the full opening of Northern Parkway in El Mirage October 25, marking a milestone in a project that helps complete a promise made to voters under Proposition 400. The improvement project was included in the 2003 Regional Transportation Plan and supported by a continuation of the dedicated half-cent sales tax approved by Maricopa County voters in 2004. With the recent completion of overpasses at Dysart and El Mirage roads, traffic no longer has to use the frontage roads when traveling from east to west. “There are several major benefits to the Northern Parkway improvements,” said El Mirage Mayor Alexis Hermosillo. “I believe most people will appreciate the additional lanes that were added. It now takes less time to get from one side of the West Valley to the other,” she said. The corridor project extends 12.5 miles between Loop 303 (Estrella Freeway) and US 60 (Grand Avenue) in northwestern Maricopa County. More than $237.5 million in regional funding has been allocated by the Maricopa Association of Governments for the portion between Loop 303 (Estrella Freeway) and Loop 101 (Agua Fria Freeway). Maricopa County and the cities of El Mirage, Glendale, and Peoria also contributed funding to the project. Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman noted that the improvements will help increase vehicle capacity and spur economic development. “Northern Avenue had one lane in each direction, while Northern Parkway has two plus the frontage roads,” said Hickman. “These improvements are critical for the fastest growing county in the United States and will help support continued economic development in the West Valley.” Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers applauded the improvements, and said voters need to be given the opportunity to approve an extension of Proposition 400 to continue important regional investments. “We have made tremendous transportation investments in the West Valley that continue to support population and economic growth. Though we have reasons to celebrate, we must continue to improve our transportation system that will support the West Valley for generations to come,” said Mayor Weiers. Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat said the new roadway provides important safety features such as streetlights, medians, cable barriers and access management to provide an extra layer of security on a high-speed roadway. She also emphasized the role transportation infrastructure plays in growing our economy, referencing a recently completed economic analysis of the Proposition 400 extension investment plan. “The link between transportation infrastructure and economic development is undeniable. The extension of Proposition 400 will increase local business sales by more than $4.5 billion a year, create and support tens of thousands of new jobs per year, and keep the cost of doing business in Maricopa County low – and it’s because of transportation investments like this one.” The Northern Parkway Corridor projects are the result of a partnership with many local agencies and jurisdictions, including the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), MAG, Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT), City of El Mirage, City of Glendale, and City of Peoria. MCDOT is leading final design and construction efforts. The project is being completed in phases.