Construction crews will soon begin widening several miles of southbound shoulders along Highway 87 north of Rye, the Arizona Department of Transportation said Friday.
ADOT recently received $6 million in federal safety funding to widen and repave 2 1/2 miles of the highway, being called the Oxbow project, said ADOT Public Information Officer Bill Williams.
“We have known for a few years that the shoulders are not wide enough if someone had to pull over and stop,” Williams said.
Starting around Jan. 19, workers from Bison Contracting will begin clearing brush and removing 100,000 cubic yards of dirt to widen the shoulders. Drainage pipes, concrete culverts and guardrails will also be installed.
During construction, one lane of north- and southbound traffic will be closed Monday through Friday during the day.
Williams said besides the safety benefit of wider shoulders, Bison Contracting is planning to hire dozens of Payson area residents for the project.
Extra dirt removed from the site will also be deposited into a large U.S. Forest Service pit northeast of the project.
“The Forest Service is appreciative of the plan to fill in the pit, which has been an eyesore and a dump site for such things as refrigerators,” Williams said.