As reported in the Payson Roundup, May 12, Arizona Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Bill Williams reported that the Mazatzal Rest Area was closed due to two primary reasons; the rest area was closed in December due to the sewage system becoming overwhelmed with waste and rain from the wet winter and that there are rest room services within 20 miles of the rest area and it is not used as frequently as other state rest stops.
The state claimed the Mazatzal Rest Area would stay closed to save money. My argument is that there are several other rest areas that are currently open and are within miles of other rest room services and as far as the highway not being used as much as the other highways is complete hyperbole.
I have seen more traffic on Highway 87 than on the other highways including complete traffic stoppages. Bill Williams is invited to drive up here on a weekend or holiday to check my claim out. I would like to suggest that the state of Arizona sell or lease the Mazatzal Rest Area to a party that will maintain some type of rest stop area for the public. I have done some research and the majority of the other state of Arizona owned and currently opened rest areas are operated by outside contractors.
Sure, it is easy to drive another 20 miles to other services, considering the other facilities are open and you are not in a hurry.
My suggestion to ADOT, post a sign at the edge of Payson, saying no rest room facilities for 70 miles and to turn off the lights at the Mazatzal Rest Area to save money and likewise for people coming from the Valley.