The seemingly interminable construction work on the Beeline Highway, continues to cause sometimes unpredictable delays for people heading to Rim Country.
Right now, the road work involves a six-mile stretch of highway near the Bush Highway turnoff — between mileposts 204 and 210.
That diversion and narrowing of traffic on the main route to the high country has generated a significant number of complaints, but remains only the most visible of a number of highway construction delays affecting Rim Country — including a roundabout in north Payson and the widening of State Route 260 outside of Star Valley.
Starting on Sept. 7, crews started diverting traffic off the southbound divided highway onto the northbound roadbed — with one lane going north and one lane going south.
Many motorists reported delays in excess of an hour trying to get through the new bottleneck on Fridays heading north and on Sundays heading south.
However, delays remain inconsistent — with little or no delay during much of the week. For instance, Sunday evening the narrowing was causing little holdup in either direction.
ADOT expects the $11 million effort to add an extra southbound lane along a 1.8-mile section and to improve shoulders, embankments and slopes at the edge of the roadway will continue until next spring.
ADOT engineers hope to complete the work and lift the travel restrictions before next year’s Memorial Day weekend, the normal start of the heavy summer travel season.
The project will include substantial erosion control work along the highway between New Four Peaks Road and Dos S Ranch Road, plus additional work near the community of Sunflower.
ADOT posts information on road work and closures at www.az51.gov or on the phone if you dial 5-1-1. However, motorists have complained that the information about the Beeline restrictions have not been consistently posted on the 511 number.
Meanwhile, ADOT continues to work on a $1.2 million roundabout at Airport Road and Highway 87 in Payson.
Crews have laid down asphalt on half of the roundabout, which has required shutting down Airport Road for much of the past week. The work also reduced Highway 87 to one lane, causing significant slowing during peak periods.
During the closure, Airport Road businesses have reported a sharp drop in customers, despite marked detours north and south of the work zone. Generally, drivers have been using Houston Mesa Road and Forest Drive to cut through to McLane Road and avoid the closures.
Out on Highway 260 in Little Green Valley, crews have tried to minimize land closures as they work to widen the highway between mileposts 262 and 267.4.
The road work has prompted a drop in the speed limit to 35 miles an hour, with doubled fines for speeding in the construction zone.