Blasting to remove a large rock outcropping on a 110-foot high cliff on the Beeline Highway a couple miles north of Four Peaks Road will restrict northbound and southbound traffic Tuesday morning, Aug. 10.
Although the cliff is on the southbound side of the Beeline Highway, traffic will be stopped for 45 minutes in both directions because the northbound and southbound lanes are close together and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is concerned about debris flying onto the northbound lanes.
Front end loaders will be stationed north and south of the cliff (milepost 206) and will clean up debris as quickly as possible after the blast to minimize the delay for motorists, according to Mark Locke, an ADOT construction technician overseeing the project.
The blast will be part of a two-week project started last Monday to remove loose rocks from a cliff created years ago when the Beeline Highway originally was constructed as a two-lane highway. This section of the Beeline became a four-lane highway in mid-1997 and the existing highway became the southbound lanes.
The cliff has deteriorated because of age and weather and loose rocks have been falling on the highway.
Drilling for the blasting was done on Aug. 5. Additionally, removal of smaller loose rocks will continue by a team of San Carlos Indians who rappel down the face of the cliff on ropes and remove the loose rocks with long steel pry bars.
Traffic delays up to 45 minutes will continue for southbound traffic all next week. Northbound traffic will only be affected on Tuesday, Aug. 10. No work will be done from noon Friday to 6 a.m. Monday, Aug. 9.
Southbound lane restrictions will start at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
EME West Construction, Inc., of Glendale is the prime contractor for the $189,500 project.