Highway 87 From Payson To Pine Is Dangerous

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Editor:

I certainly have enormous sympathy for the woman who called regarding the reporting of the death of her father on Highway 87. It was an awful accident, one of many that I have passed on my way from Pine to Payson. But I think both you and the caller missed an important point.

Highway 87 is a killer.

My husband and I were hit head-on by a driver who didn't respect the double yellow lines. Our damages and injuries were minor because we saw him coming. Many of our neighbors who use this route to Payson have been involved in head-on collisions and near misses because of this dangerous road.

I drive 87 to Payson at least four times a week. It is rare that a week goes by where I don't see a wreck. The vast majority of these serious wrecks never make the Roundup. My husband has suggested that I keep my Nikon in the car with a note pad and become the unofficial reporter for the carnage that we regularly witness.

We have contacted the Arizona Department of Transportation. They listen but offer no solutions.

The road is narrow, off camber in many places, unlit and has virtually no shoulder in either direction.

Also, there are strolling elk and impaired drivers to contend with. If you have a problem, there is no reliable cell phone service either.

There should be big flashing warning signs as one leaves Payson going north, such as "Dangerous Road," "No Shoulders Ahead," "Narrow Road," "Stay Away From the Double Yellow" or "Get Off Your Cell Phone and Drive."

While I am on this rant, let me also protest the hideous grave markers that are allowed to be posted by the families of the victims of 87 and other highways in Arizona. Am I wrong to assume that these traffic victims are buried in a cemetery somewhere? That is where the flowers belong, not on the highway.

If this really is the death alley that I know it to be, the last thing any driver needs is some gaudy cross and flower display to distract him from the task at hand -- driving to save his own life. Someone needs to do something to protect all of us.

Step up your reporting. Don't soft-pedal it. The life you save might be mine.

Teddy Cohen, Pine

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