by Jim Keyworth
roundup staff reporter
Rim country motorists can expect substantial delays on Highway 87 from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Thursday.
The delays will occur between Mazatzal Casino and Houston Mesa Road as the Arizona Department of Transportation continues preparation work leading to the repaving of Highway 87 from the south end of Payson all the way to Pine.
The phase that is being completed during nighttime hours next week involves the milling and replacement of three inches of asphalt in locations where the road is in particularly bad shape, ADOT Traffic Engineering Specialist David Gerlach said.
"If you look on the ground, you'll see where we've marked out white lines with arrows," Gerlach said. "That's where the road is stressed and fatigued really bad."
Eventually, a half-inch of rubberized asphalt will be laid on the highway, a material that contains 10 to 20 percent rubber from ground-up tires, project superintendent Gerlach said.
The material works well in wide temperature ranges because it actually moves and it will give the Beeline "an extremely smooth ride," he said.
The preparation phase, a $1.2-million project, also includes the addition of sidewalks and roadway widening in some places most extensively in the vicinity of Tyler Parkway and Houston Mesa Road.
"When we're done, there will be sidewalk all the way to Houston Mesa Road," Gerlach said.
Work is also being done on right-hand turn lanes onto those roads from the northbound Beeline.
Extensive sidewalk additions are also taking place in the vicinity of the casino and the Payson Event Center.
Curb catch basins that are not level are also being torn up and replaced, and right turn lanes are being widened or created at Houston Mesa Road, Tyler Parkway and other places.
The final resurfacing of the roadway is tentatively scheduled to begin Sept. 24, at which time another round of delays can be expected.