Road Safety Meeting Productive, Says Mayor

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Star Valley Mayor Chuck Heron has been trying to improve the safety of the roads in his town for years.

His prolonged requests to the Arizona Department of Transportation were finally met with some action in the form of a three-day workshop this week.

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A hazardous portion of Highway 260 east of Star Valley is a point of concern for town council members.

Heron said tests were performed on different roads in and around Star Valley. Among his greatest concerns is a stretch of Highway 260, east of town.

Heron said after officials drove the stretch of road, the team proposed several options to improve its safety.

Two teenagers were killed just east of Star Valley in November due to what Heron claimed was a dangerous road.

"They came up with some good ideas," Heron said.

Among the conclusions, which will be submitted in a report to ADOT Director Victor Mendez, was that motorist tend to drift out of their lanes due to poor visibility, sharp curves and overgrown trees along the stretch of highway near the Gila County Maintenance Yard, east of town.

"They call it ‘lane departure,'" Heron said.

Heron said one idea to clear up the lane departure is cutting back brush along the highway so motorists won't drift toward the centerlines.

Another idea, Heron said, was to grate the road where painted lane boundaries exist to alert drivers that they are diverting from the inside of their lanes.

"I'm very comfortable in the fact that they addressed the problems," Heron said. "It was a good round-table discussion. That safety assessment team is really professional."

The results of the three-day study will be submitted by participating ADOT officials to the ADOT district engineer in Prescott and ADOT director.

Heron said the ADOT officials would review the report and determine the next course of action and whether or not to implement the suggested changes. Heron said he expects a response by February 2008.

"I'm going to be open-minded with it," he said.

"My whole position is to make it safe and they've got more expertise on it than me."

Representatives from ADOT, AAA, the Federal Highway Administration, Payson Police Department, Diamond Star Fire District, Forest Service, Gila County and Star Valley Streets and Roads Committee participated in a road safety study on Monday and Tuesday and held a follow-up meeting Wednesday.

Town of Star Valley officer seekers

Mayoral Candidates: Chuck Heron, Randy White

Council Candidates: George Binney, Gary Coon, Barbara Hartwell, Nathalie Stroup

The primary election will be held on Tuesday, March 11.

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