A Maricopa man wants to see change along State Route 347 after a close call with another driver last week.
Damon Burke told ABC15 he has three connections to bad crashes along SR-347, which he considers a dangerous stretch of road. Last Friday, he says a driver nearly hit him while speeding along the shoulder south of Interstate 10.
"My wife and I were both shook up," Burke said. "We always are when things like this happen."
According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Joseph M. Manuel, 26, was arrested for DUI.
Coincidentally, ABC15 interviewed Burke early last year, after he witnessed a bad crash that injured a corrections officer, also along SR 347. Finally, he says his wife was friends with Julissa Torres, a 26-year-old woman who authorities say was killed by a wrong-way driver along SR-347 near Riggs Road back in May.
"So many peoples' lives have been changed by that road," Burke said.
FULL SECTION: OPERATION SAFE ROADS
ABC15 has also received several emails from viewers, concerned about SR-347 particularly between Maricopa and the I-10.
According to an ABC15 analysis of most-recent available crash data from the Arizona Department of Transportation, SR-347 in its entirety has seen an uptick in crashes.
2015: 187 crashes, 3 fatalities
2016: 254 crashes, 5 fatalities
According to DPS, troopers do patrol the area, but the agency doesn't consider that stretch of SR-347 particularly more dangerous than any other highway. They note bad drivers, not highways, are to blame for deadly crashes.
Whether the answer is more law enforcement patrols, construction, or simply better drivers, Burke wants to see change.
"It's not one thing that's going to fix 347," Burke said.
ADOT, which notes most all crashes are caused by drivers, provided ABC15 with the following information on projects along SR-347:
Underway: a $55 million bridge carrying SR 347 over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks in Maricopa.
In the five-year construction program: installing a traffic signal at Old Maricopa Road and 347, with design in fiscal 2019 and installation in fiscal 2020.