Coming off a long, budgetary losing streak, Payson hit a $390,000 jackpot with word that it won’t have to pay a big chunk of a highway roundabout at Airport Road after all.
“That’s joyful good news,” observed newly elected Councilor Fred Carpenter, when the council learned at its Thursday meeting that a federal highway safety grant will cover the town’s portion of the cost.
That means Payson will likely get a $390,000 refund of money it paid to the Arizona Department of Transportation in the just concluded fiscal year to cover its share of the cost of a $1.2-million roundabout intended to smooth out the flow of traffic on the highway.
ADOT is expected to award the $1.2-million contract today, Friday, to Bison Construction, the same Valley-based firm that did the recent road widening work on the highway south of Payson. The new roundabout will resemble the existing roundabout in front of Home Depot, and traffic studies show that roundabouts speed the movement of traffic more efficiently and cause far fewer accidents than stop lights.
The windfall will also benefit ADOT, since the federal funds will cover most of its costs as well. Payson officials had originally asked ADOT if they could apply for the federal highway funds to cover the town’s share, which prompted ADOT to apply for money to cover its costs as well.
Both Payson and ADOT will have to pay for any cost overruns, under the terms of the federal grant.