"If all goes reasonably well, Phase One (of Fossil Creek Road) will be completed by fall," Ron Christensen, District One Supervisor, and chairman of the Gila County Board of Supervisors, said in an interview this week.
The $1.5-million project will widen and pave the road, plus correct drainage problems from its intersection with Highway 87 to about half-a-mile past the Old Strawberry School, Christensen explained.
The project has been a complex one. It started several years ago, but then was interrupted when the county lost funding.
The project has been resumed and part of the work is already under way. The county has made arrangements with the utility companies, many of which have lines at the very edge of the road, and a few property owners from whom rights of way were needed.
"The utility companies have been cooperative and we had to buy only two or three rights of way. They were not a big part of the cost, most people were willing to give us the little bit of property we needed if we said we'd fix their driveways (where they joined the road)," Christensen said.
The county was able to obtain a low-interest loan for a portion of the project from the Arizona Department of Transportation because Fossil Creek joins a state highway. Similar funding was acquired to do comparable road work in the Globe area, he said.
Last year, in preparation for the Fossil Creek Road project, another road was improved to handle detoured traffic, Christensen said.
Bids for the road construction are now being sought.
The second phase of the project will widen, pave and further improve Fossil Creek Road all the way to the Forest Service boundary.