Federal Money Will Fund Bridges Over East Verde

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The federal government will provide more than $5 million to build three bridges and a low water crossing in northern Gila County beginning in the fall of 2013.

The project includes bridges over the Second and Third Crossings (of the East Verde River) on Houston Mesa Road and a bridge on the Control Road at Tonto Village. The plans also include a large box culvert at Reynolds Creek on S.R. 288 south of Young.

“We have wanted to do this for some time, but it was the Forest Service that submitted the request for funds to the Central Federal Land Division of the Federal Highway Administration,” said Steve Sanders, deputy director of Gila County Public Works.

The Forest Service submitted the request about 18 months ago, he said. It was approved and put in the highway administration budget. The highway administration is currently designing the projects, he said. It is the same team that managed the construction of the seven bridges on Control Road, according to Joel Mona, engineering liaison for the Tonto National Forest.

The surveys required by the National Environmental Policy Act are also now being conducted, Mona said.

Sanders said he did not know if work would be bid as individual projects or a single job.

Coordinating with pipeline project

He said construction would be coordinated with the Blue Ridge pipeline project so as to cause as little disruption to traffic as possible. Contractors will create bypasses at the crossings, according to Mona. The work will probably prompt delays, but shouldn’t require road closures.

Prior to the start of actual construction, there will be public meetings, Sanders said. Mona said he doesn’t yet know when and where those hearings will be held.

The work could take from nine months to a year, according to Mona.

“All Gila County will do is accept the work for maintenance after it is completed,” he said.

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