For some time now I have been urging the citizens of Payson and Star Valley to write the Chairman of ADOT, concerning our need for a highway bypass around the two towns. Particularly, if they want such a bypass in the next 25 years.
My wife did this, and gave Senator Jake Flake a copy of her letter to Chairman Schorr. Senator Flaked replied, this past week, saying that he agreed we needed a bypass. He travels through Payson, nearly every weekend, and has experienced the congested bottleneck many times.
Perhaps more important, Senator Flake contacted the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), on our behalf, and was told, "there is no project to build a Payson bypass on the books at this time."
The reasons Senator Flake was given by ADOT, "were twofold. First, there does not seem to be a consensus of the majority of residents in the area that the bypass is needed. Secondly, this would have to be a request from the local government entities for such a project. In other words, it is up to the local region to decide on the necessity of a bypass."
Based on Senator Flake's reply from ADOT it is obvious that Payson and Star Valley are a long way from having a bypass. If we want bypass in the foreseeable future, we better get busy.
The second part of ADOT's concern, as to a request from the government entities, is the easy part. Plans are already under way for Payson, Star Valley and Gila County to make such a request from ADOT.
The first request is the more difficult one. Through the years the representatives we have sent to ADOTave been ambivalent. There has always been a segment of the business community opposed to a bypass, because they might lose some business. There may still be some who feel that way.
However, the public concern evidenced, by all the recent meetings about the defacto bypasses through residential areas, should indicate that a lot of people want a genuine bypass to reduce the congestion through the center of the towns.
If you want a bypass you better let ADOT know it. Loud and clear. Send letters or petitions or whatever is required, to let ADOT know that a lot of us (the majority of us) want a bypass and we want it now.
We do have a window of opportunity.
There is already about $45 million appropriated by ADOT, and in its 2009-2013 Plan, to finish widening SR 260 from Star Valley to the top of the Rim. That money would be much better spent on the bypass, where the real bottleneck is, so make that suggestion in the messages you send to ADOT. Ask them to spend the money that is already appropriated, where it will do the most good.
All messages should be addressed to:
ADOT Chairman S. L. Schorr
ADOT Vice Chairman Delbert Householder
Arizona Department of Transportation
206 S. 7th Avenue
Mail Drop 100A
Phoenix, AZ 85007
If possible, also sendopies to: Sen. Jake Flake, Rep. Jack Brown, Rep. Billonopnicki, Sen. Ron Gould - Chairman Senate Transport Comm., Rep. Andy Biggs - Chairman House Transport Comm. All of these legislators can be reached at 1700 W. Washington St.,Phoenix, AZ 85007.