Gila County On Fast Track To Highway Improvements


The Arizona Department of Transportation's tentative highway construction program for 2001 to 2005 calls for spending $2.7 billion on the state highway system -- including $174 million for Gila County's highways.

If the statewide plan is approved this summer, the $2.7 billion will be used to improve U.S. and State Route highways in all 15 of Arizona's counties.

That figure does not include, however, the $1.8 billion budgeted to improve the Regional Freeway System in the Phoenix metropolitan area during fiscal years 2001 through 2007.

Highlights of the tentative five-year highway construction program in Gila County include:

• A five-year total of $174.9 million -- including $65.7 million in fiscal year 2001, $40.7 million in fiscal 2002, and $33.5 million in fiscal 2003.

• The fiscal 2001 program includes $26.4 million to widen 2.6 miles of SR 260 east of Star Valley near Preacher Canyon to a four-lane divided highway; $25 million to realign 7.5 miles of SR 88/188 between Resort Road and Devore Wash between Globe and Roosevelt Lake; and $3.6 million to resurface 8.6 miles of U.S. 60 between Miami and Globe.

• The fiscal 2002 program includes $7.7 million to realign 9.5 miles of SR 88/188 between Tonto National Monument and Resort Road; and $31.2 million to widen two miles of SR 260 to a four-lane divided highway at Christopher Creek.

Other highlights include $15.3 million in fiscal 2004 to widen 6.9 miles of SR 260 in the Little Green Valley area between Payson and Christopher Creek; and $18.3 million in fiscal 2005 to widen 3.5 miles of SR 260 in the Doubtful Canyon area west of Christopher Creek.

The State Transportation Board will hold public hearings on the tentative five-year program before taking final action in May or June, said ADOT Public Information Officer Walt Gray.

The closest hearing to Payson will be held at 9 a.m. April 14 in the Flagstaff City Council Chambers, 211 W. Aspen.

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