Airport Rd. To Be Disrupted To September

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Hold on to your mufflers -- the work that's being done from the Beeline Highway to just west of McLane Road -- phase one of the Airport Road project -- should be completed by the end of August or early September.

Brad Preston, of Preston Contracting, said his crews are widening Airport Road, putting in curbing and sidewalks and new storm drains.

"It should really be able to handle the water," Preston said. "The storm drains we're putting in are a lot bigger than the ones we're removing."

This first phase of the town's Transportation Plan Airport Road Project project began July 10 and is costing $450,000. Of that, $200,000 is being covered by funds from the Arizona Department of Transportation. The rest is being paid for by the town.

Town Engineer LaRon Garrett said the street is being widened to three lanes, and bicycle lanes are being added on both sides.

"Once we get this done, that'll be it, until we secure financing for Phase 2," Garrett said Monday. "That'll be two to three years before we start on that."

He said financing for Phase 2 of the project is dependent on financing from ADOT.

"And we're looking at an economic development grant to pay for that," he said. "That's also a state grant from the Department of Commerce."

Altogether, Phase 2 of the Airport Road Project is expected to cost $750,000. The work will include widening the road and adding curbs, gutters, bike lanes and sidewalks from McLane Road to the entrance of the Payson Airport.

Phase 3 of the project may be some five years down the road, Garrett said.

"We're working with the FAA to pay for that," he said. "We'll relocate Airport Road to the south to expand the airport -- that's why the FAA is putting money into it."

Garrett said there is no current cost estimate on Phase 3 of the project. "We're barely starting on that now. We've just done the preliminary stuff. Once we do that, we can get a good estimate."

Phase 3 of the project will include Airport Road from the Payson Airport entrance to Chennault Parkway.

Phase 4 is eight to 10 years away and includes work from Chennault Parkway to Vista Road. It will be paid for by the developers involved with land exchanges around it.

In this first phase, the Elks Club and an apartment complex across the street from it have been the only businesses affected by the construction.

"Once we start up the hill, the only way around it is to use Vista Road that comes up from the golf course," Garrett said. "Right now, people should be able to use Forest to McLane and go up. They can also use Roundup or West Houston Mesa Road."

Garrett said crews currently working on Airport Road are "real positive" they'll be out of there by the end of August or early September.

"The rain has slowed them down," he said. "We've got a little more (rain) than usual. It doesn't matter when we open up a street project -- it always rains.

"I guess we need more street projects 'cause we sure can use the water."

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