Rim Country commuters can sigh a breath of relief if the Arizona Department of Transportation pulls together the $18 million needed to make the Bush-Beeline highway intersection a safer place.
Plans to widen the lanes and build an overpass spanning the Bush-Beeline highways intersection -- located about 70 miles south of Payson -- are under review.
Bill Pederson, ADOT spokesman, said the agency has also proposed highway improvements just north of the junction, between the edge of Tonto Forest and Four Peaks.
Ten million dollars is already slated for the venture. However, rising construction costs are forcing ADOT to seek additional funding, Pederson said.
ADOT began studying the intersection in late 2004.
The agency should complete its review by October 2006, and begin construction shortly thereafter, Pederson said. If the project stays on schedule, local motorists will drive over -- instead of through -- the intersection sometime in 2008.
In 2005, three Payson residents died and two were injured at the intersection. Two weeks ago, a fatal collision occurred when a Payson man collided with a driver who ran a stop sign at the same spot.