Southeast Bypass Moves East And South

Sutton Road route taken out of new plan


George Flanagan of ASL Consulting Engineers objected to Town Manager Rich Underkofler's statement that the public could now take pot shots at his company's solutions for the town's transportation problems.

"This is Arizona," Flanagan said. "When people take pot shots, it's a problem."

Flanagan, the project manager for the update to the town's transportation plan, answered questions and presided over the second public informational workshop of the study at Michael's at the Inn Thursday afternoon.

In introducing Flanagan, Underkofler told the group that the first meeting, held several months ago, tried to identify the problems.

"Now we have something definitive to take shots at," he said.

The southeast bypass was an area of concern for many of the people at the meeting, but Flanagan put their worries to rest.

"The recommendation is for a southeast bypass much further out of Payson, from Round Valley to outside Star Valley," Flanagan said.

He said that ultimately the bypass would become a state highway, costing $50 to $60 million to build and taking seven to 10 years to figure out where to put it and how to design it.

"That doesn't mean the town should sit back and wait," he said.

Projections are for traffic on Highway 260 to increase from 5,000-to-10,000 vehicles a day to up to 30,000 a day.

"If we don't build a bypass, demand on the Beeline Highway will grow to 40,000 a day on a typical routine day," Flanagan said.

The bypass should reduce that number by half, he said.

Flanagan called upon the town to be proactive and to look at the environmental issues, sensitive plants and the terrain before decisions are made.

"I can guarantee you they're not going to build a little country road with shoulders on both sides," he said.

The plan includes improvements at the intersection of Beeline Highway and Highway 260, the southeast bypass and Highway 87 access controls, a northwest loop by the airport as development occurs, and a lot of minor widenings.

The improvement program lists time frames for projects in the years 1998-2002, 2002-2007, and 2007-2020.

Some of the more immediate projects include:

  • installing a traffic signal at the intersection of the North Beeline and the Wal-Mart Supercenter;
  • modifying the intersection and widening Highway 260 at the Beeline Highway;
  • enhancing the south Beeline, including the intersection of Beeline and Main Street;
  • installing a traffic signal at Highway 260 at Payson Village;
  • modifying and widening the intersection of Highway 260 and Tyler Parkway.

The finalized draft goes before the Payson Planning and Zoning Commission within three weeks and before the Town Council in about eight weeks.

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