The Payson Town Council gave Town Manager Rich Underkofler the green light Thursday night to put in a request for a study and design for a southeast bypass.
But the council stopped short of putting its money where its vote was by putting off a decision to underwrite 40 percent of the cost of the study.
"I'm not going to allocate 40 percent to ADOT (the Arizona Department of Transportation) for the study," said Council member Jack Monschein. "ADOT owns (Highways) 260 and 87 and they have a tremendous responsibility. The loop study is going to be important to this town, however."
"We're in a very competitive situation for transportation funds," said Cliff Potts, chairman of the Northern Gila County Highways Committee. "People who want projects approved are coming to the table with money for ADOT."
Potts, who has been involved with the town and transportation issues for 15 years, spoke during a public hearing on the request about a governor's task force on transportation recently held in Payson.
"One of the charges by the governor is for towns to contribute," he said. "If we were to contribute 40 percent, we could get the plan done quicker. If we're not involved with the plan, we won't have a choice. We've got to get busy, knuckle down and get involved with this."
The council voted 6-0 to have Underkofler initiate the bypass plan with ADOT. Council member Jim Spencer was absent.
Traffic congestion plan
The council also unanimously approved authorizing a $15,000 contract with ASL Consulting Engineers for planning and preliminary services for a traffic congestion management plan for the South Beeline Highway. The money will come from the budget of the Green Valley Redevelopment Project because a portion of the highway is included within the boundaries of the redevelopment district.
The plan to ease traffic congestion could provide routes for pedestrians and bicycles, and include landscaping and beautification projects.
In his request to the council, Underkofler said the two-way center lane, in combination with numerous driveways along the South Beeline Highway, creates a free-for-all condition as traffic enters and exits businesses adjacent to the highway.
The council discussed adopting the Payson Small Area Transportation Plan as an amendment to the town's general plan. The decision to adopt the plan will be made at the council's Sept. 23 meeting.
In other business, the council:
- Held a first reading and public hearing on the use of intoxicating beverages in town parks;
- Approved public improvements in Stone Creek subdivision and accepted them for town maintenance.