Pine Suffers Delays

Hour-long delays leave drivers fuming

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Road paving made for another disruptive day for residents in Pine Monday.

Road crews closed off one lane of roadway to lay down a final layer of asphalt. Luckily, this should be the last major shut down in town, with the $3 million project nearing completion Friday.

Bill Pederson, Arizona Department of Transportation community relations project manager, said wait times were up to an hour Monday in Pine, with road crews closing down one lane of traffic to apply a friction coat.

“The maximum wait was about an hour, which is what we anticipated due to the nature of work,” Pederson said.

Pine real estate agent Betty Gooder said she was told by flaggers that the wait could be up to two hours. Gooder said this was unacceptable given people have to get out of town to work.

Fann Contracting owner Mike Fann said his office did not field any complaints for the wait times Monday.

“Generally speaking when those wait times happen, I hear it,” he said. “We have a requirement that we will not hold up traffic for more than 30 minutes, so, a two-hour wait makes no sense.”

Fann admitted wait times often exceed 30 minutes, especially in restricted areas like Pine, but crews make every effort to keep wait times down.

“Were there some delays? No doubt about it,” Pederson said. “We had to close one lane, but the good news is the paving is done through Pine.”

So far, the repaving project, which stretches 10 miles from Pine to the lip of the Mogollon Rim, has stirred up quite a few residents and business owners, who complained about crews working late into the night and blocking access to businesses and roads.

In mid July, crews removed the old asphalt through Pine and Strawberry, tying up traffic in Pine for hours. It took crews a month to mill the rest of the asphalt and repave the entire stretch.

Under ADOT’s contract, Fann Construction crews can only work Monday through Friday morning to lessen the impact on businesses.

The contract does not limit how late crews can work during the weekdays.

On Monday, crews applied a three-quarter inch asphalt layer that reduces road noise, acts as a sealant and gives tires something to grip, Fann said.

Workers will finish sealing today, Friday, Aug. 27.

After that, workers will install 2,000 feet of guardrail and in a month apply permanent striping. Fann is required to wait a month for striping to give the asphalt time to cure.

“We won’t be inconveniencing the residents or businesses in Pine anymore with paving,” Pederson said.

For more information regarding this project or to receive weekly construction e-updates, call the project hotline at (877) 521-1118.

Airport Road roundabout

With the paving project in Pine nearing completion, another construction project is beginning.

On Sunday, construction began on a roundabout at the Highway 87 and Airport Road intersection.

While some residents have scoffed at the project, ADOT says, “A roundabout is an effective alternative to a traffic signal that requires vehicles to slow down and yield while maintaining the flow of traffic.”

Crews are working 24 hours a day, from 10 p.m. Sunday through noon Friday, for the duration of the project, which should be finished by the end of November 2010.

During construction, Highway 87 is reduced to one lane in each direction. Crews will close Airport Road and Airline Drive at times, but keep access to businesses open at all times.

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