Newsroom | Road Improvements in Peoria: Prop 400 Keeping Us Safe

MAG News

Happy Valley Road improvements in Peoria expands lanes, widening project improves safety for residents, drivers, cyclists. Improves area traffic congestion.

Happy Valley Road widening project keeps drivers and cyclists safe

Prop 400

On the Move Partners in Progress logoUnder Proposition 400 in 2004, Maricopa County voters approved an extension of the half-cent sales tax for transportation. This series highlights projects built under Prop 400 — to let you know where your money is going and how it is improving your transportation experience.

Maricopa County is the fastest-growing county in the United States. In the northwest region, Peoria is projected to add more than 97,000 residents by 2050. That rapid population growth is taxing West Valley roadways. Prop 400 funding is used to improve our transportation infrastructure and meet the needs of our growing population. The Happy Valley Road improvements in Peoria addressed the concern for driver and cyclist safety in the area.

Road Widening Project Has Positive Impact on Traffic Congestion

Civil engineers from Peoria and Maricopa County planned together how to widen Happy Valley Road from Loop 303 in the far Northwest Valley to Lake Pleasant Parkway. The roadway expansion project was designed to handle current traffic demands and accommodate anticipated population growth in Peoria.

“Before the widening project, the traffic was growing steadily worse,” said Dan Nissen, the deputy director of city engineering in Peoria. “Afterward, traffic flow was much more manageable.” 

The Happy Valley Road widening project added three lanes in each direction. Nissen says this resulted in an immediate positive impact on traffic congestion in the area. The short stretch of road is one of only a few that cross the Agua Fria River in the Northwest Valley. This major thoroughfare provides access to the neighborhood of Vistancia on the west side of Loop 303 and, on the east, Peoria’s primary shopping district.

Agua Fria Bridge

Peoria Cyclists' Concerns Addressed with Road Improvements

The Happy Valley Road widening project was put into motion after drivers raised traffic safety concerns to the city of Peoria. But drivers weren’t the only ones to speak up. A large cycling group from Vistancia also expressed their concerns about biking across the long bridge with no bike lanes.

In addition to the extra traffic lanes, curbs, streetlights, and walkways, bike lanes also were included in the project. The bike lanes and 12-foot-wide multiuse path across the Agua Fria Bridge were in response to an accident involving a cyclist. The cyclists voiced the need for a separation barrier over the quarter-mile-long bridge. 

“There is a large group of cyclists from Vistancia who use the lanes on a regular basis,” said Ben Wilson, a civil engineer with Peoria. “They love it,” he added. 

Views of Happy Valley Parkway

Peoria and Maricopa County Work Together on Roadway Project

Initially, the city project was to expand the roadway to three lanes in each direction from Lake Pleasant Parkway to the Agua Fria Bridge. Maricopa County had jurisdiction of the roadway between the Agua Fria River and Loop 303. Working together to create a seamless transition in the new project, Maricopa County and Peoria agreed to share costs to incorporate the county segment into the city’s project. As part of the agreement, Peoria annexed the county’s portion after the project was completed. The project took roughly five years to complete.

The Happy Valley Road project is part of the Maricopa Association of Governments’ Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). The RTP is funded in part by Prop 400, a half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements approved by Maricopa County voters in 2004. In 2024, Maricopa County Voters will have the chance to vote on extending the tax another 20 years. The current funding is set to expire in 2025. 

Published August 31, 2023