Valley residents and outdoor enthusiasts who flock to the Rim Country to escape the summer temperatures will have a reason to celebrate. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is fulfilling its commitment to complete Highway 87 improvements before Memorial Day weekend.
By Friday, ADOT crews will remove all traffic restrictions on Highway 87 (Duthie-Martin Highway) approximately five miles north of the Saguaro Lake turnoff, restoring all four lanes of the divided highway.
ADOT restricted travel to one lane in each direction after Labor Day weekend last year.
The $12 million reconstruction and widening project between New Four Peaks Road (milepost 204) and Dos S Ranch Road (milepost 210) includes the addition of a third southbound lane to enhance safety and traffic flow on the 1.5-mile uphill stretch. Erosion control and slope repairs were also made just north of the project.
Payson Mayor Kenny Evans said the timing of the project couldn’t have come at a better time and the improvements will likely help drive the economy in the Payson area as more visitors trek to the high country.
“We are very pleased that ADOT has completed the corridor improvements on the Beeline Highway in such a timely fashion. No one likes the inconvenience of road repairs and highway improvements,” Evans said.
“We have been extremely impressed with ADOT’s open communication policy during construction and are pleased to be able to once again invite our visitors from the Valley to make a ‘beeline’ to Payson. Whether a day trip or weekend getaway, everyone can once again enjoy the easy drive up to relax in the cool mountain pines of Payson.”
Highway 87 improvements were funded through a combination of a half-cent Maricopa County sales tax under the voter-approved Regional Transportation Plan and the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding.
“This is an example of using limited transportation funding to improve safety conditions along our state highway system,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “We’ve worked quickly because we recognize the link between State Route 87 and the economies of Payson and Rim Country and White Mountain communities.”