Three years and $31 million went into the construction of a 3-mile stretch of State Route 260 by Kohl's Ranch.
The project's completion will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, July 13, with a ceremony, according to information from the Arizona Department of Transportation.
There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony and speakers, including ADOT Director Victor Mendez. The event will be held at Tonto Creek Day Use Area (turn left from 260 at milepost 268.5 onto Forest Road 289).
"It has had a really positive impact for us," said Greg Hart, general manager of the Kohl's Ranch Lodge. "It (the change in the road) has created a much more secluded and intimate feel. Our guests think it's great because they don't hear the road noise anymore."
In addition to enhancing the ambience of the lodge, the workers on the project contributed to business.
"I'd say we'd have at least four or five of the workers come in for lunch everyday," Hart said. "I can't stress enough how truly beneficial the project has been."
Edward Kraemer & Sons, Inc. was the general contractor for the project and FNF Construction, Inc. was the primary subcontractor for the paving.
The project included creating a four-lane divided highway along a new alignment located north of Kohl's Ranch, plus five new bridges: Two bridges will be constructed for wildlife crossings, two will span Tonto Creek and one bridge will carry the eastbound lanes of SR 260 over Thompson Draw.
"Special care was taken to minimize the environmental impact of the project," an ADOT press release said. There were extensive erosion control projects and 545 trees were salvaged and relocated.
"The most challenging aspect of the Kohl's Ranch section of the project was working within the Tonto National Forest, to ensure that all environmental concerns were met to the highest standards," said Timothy Maloney, regional manager for Kraemer. "We worked to ensure that construction operations would not affect Tonto Creek waters or other features of the pristine National Forest areas."
Maloney estimated the company spent in excess of $2 million with local businesses.
The company was awarded the bid for the project in May 2003. Its headquarters are in Wisconsin. FNF Construction, Inc. is an Arizona company, based in Tempe.
There are two more stretches of east state Route 260 to be improved: A 7-mile section through Little Green Valley, east of Star Valley, scheduled in 2008, and a 4-mile section through Doubtful Canyon, between Kohl's Ranch and Christopher Creek, scheduled for 2010.