Tonto National Forest officials announced Monday that the low water crossing near Tonto Village is no longer an element of the Tonto National Forest Seven Bridges project.
“Additional time is needed for engineering and environmental studies to ensure that an appropriate solution is developed,” said Tom Puto, project manager. “The replacement of the low water crossing near Tonto Village will be submitted as a separate, candidate project in the Arizona Forest Highway Program. The projects now being advanced include replacing bridges at Webber Creek, Bonita Creek, Moore Creek, Perley Creek, Lewis Creek, Ellison Creek and Roberts Draw on the Control Road.”
The environmental and design studies for a multi-bridge replacement and rehabilitation project along National Forest System Road 64/Forest Highway 51 (also referred to as Control Road) on the Tonto National Forest, north of Payson, began last summer, and public comments were solicited last September. Project construction may begin as early as spring 2011.
A study of USFS bridges was completed in 2009, and concluded that seven bridges are load-restricted and approaching the limits of their original design life. Additionally, the bridges are considered too narrow to accommodate simultaneous two-way traffic and are not rated to carry heavier, modern vehicles.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Central Federal Lands Highway Division (CFLHD) are managing the project in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and Gila County.