Paving has been completed on the southern two-thirds of the seven-mile Beeline Highway realignment at Sunflower, and efforts are now being concentrated on the storm-damaged northern third of the highway.
Myron Robison, resident engineer for the Arizona Department of Transportation in Payson, said crews are working to meet the following schedule:
One lane of northbound traffic will be placed on the new section of highway in mid-February rather than this month as originally planned because heavy rains in October and November washed out about a mile of base material and left the earth too saturated for paving.
One lane of southbound traffic will be placed on the northbound lanes in late February. Northbound and southbound traffic will travel on their normal lanes beginning in late March, he said.
Robison said a final thin layer of rubberized asphalt will be placed over the southbound lanes in March before they open to traffic. The thin layer called a finish course that will improve braking and smoothness will be applied on the northbound lanes in April after southbound traffic is traveling on its normal lanes, he said. There will be northbound lane restrictions at that time.
Robison said paving is progressing north while repair work is being done on the base material at the north end of the realignment. Paving will continue until March as long as there is not excessive rain, he said.
As the paving moves north, guardrails will be installed along the highway, he said. Guardrail work has been finished on the south half of the project.
Robison said additional work that will follow the paving will include constructing about five miles of concrete median barrier to separate northbound and southbound traffic. The remaining two miles of the realignment will have an earth median.
The joint venture of Meadow Valley Contractors, Inc. of Phoenix and R.E. Monks Construction Co. of Fountain Hills are the general contractors for the $55.6 million project that started in August 1998.