Travelers heading north on the Beeline Highway will notice their drive is a little shorter, with a completely different view as they head from Fountain Hills to Payson.
The new Beeline Highway is nearly complete, taking northbound traffic east of Sunflower on a new section of highway bypassing the dangerous old road that snaked along Sycamore Creek.
"We'll move the southbound traffic to the northbound lanes April 20," said Walt Gray, community relations for the Arizona Department of Transportation. "Then, by early May, we'll open the whole thing back up."
While crews put the finishing touches on the new highway, state leaders will hold a dedication ceremony April 24, at milepost 218 near Sunflower. Scheduled to attend the grand opening are Arizona Gov. Jane Hull, Secretary of State Betsy Bayless and about 300 dignitaries from the Town of Payson, the Northern Gila County Transportation Committee, the Tonto-Apache and Fort McDowell tribes, the Town of Fountain Hills and the City of Mesa.
Once all of the celebrations are over, workers will begin tearing up the asphalt at the north and south ends of the Sunflower valley, leaving a portion of the roadway for local traffic.
"They'll still have a little work to do on the new section, too," Gray said. "Crews will have to do the northbound lanes, putting down a layer of rubberized asphalt, which increases durability and smoothness."
Closer to home
Road crews also are working to improve the highway closer to Payson, 10 miles south of town at Corvair Curve.
"This is a continuation of a project that actually began last fall," Gray said. "They're straightening the road at Corvair Curve, and now they're resurfacing the roadway."
Crews are working dusk to dawn, Monday through Thursday, to finish the project, causing some restrictions and one-lane traffic. Gray said the resurfacing consists of three inches of new asphalt laid over the existing road to eliminate potholes.
"When they're done with that, they'll go back in and put rubberized asphalt over that," he said.
The $3.7 million project is expected to wrap up by the end of May, he said.