Concern Over Young Roads Premature, Martin Says

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Gila County is conducting a Small Area Transportation Study, using the firm of Lima and Associates.

The purpose of the plan is to look at the county's existing roads and determine possible alternatives for routes in and out of growing communities, according to Tommie Martin, Gila County supervisor for District One.

Some residents in the Young area are concerned that a long-abandoned alternate route into their community has been resurrected.

"A serious problem with the plan is seen in the ... Chamberlain Trail (Young-Colcord Mountain) re-engineering and paving project," wrote Young residents Jim and Marie Petroff in a letter to the Roundup.

Earlier studies eliminated the route as a viable highway project due to threatened and endangered species, cultural resources, engineering issues, cost prohibition and public opinion, the Petroffs wrote. "The Chamberlain Trail project should not appear on any plan because it is not an option. The certified federal study long ago eliminated the Chamberlain Trail as an alternative. An enormous drain of taxpayer time and money has already been tragically wasted on this."

Martin said the Chamberlain Trail is just one of several alternative routes into and out of Young. The supervisors have not taken any action on the study. If and when action is taken, the county will not automatically start building roads. Any future road into Young will involve both the Forest Service and the Arizona Department of Transportation, Martin said.

"Young is probably the largest undeveloped chunk of private land in the county, and it's slowly developing," Martin said. "Once a paved road gets there, it will develop like gangbusters. We need a secondary road out in the event of a disaster. If we don't, we are not serving the future needs of the residents."

Concerns are somewhat premature, she said.

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