A decade-long project to widen State Route 260 between Payson and the Mogollon Rim is one section short of completion.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) recently applied for $36 million in federal grants to fund widening Lion Springs, the last section just northeast of Star Valley.
Crews are currently in the midst of widening three miles of Doubtful Canyon, just west of the Christopher Creek Campground, from two lanes to a four-lane divided highway. Construction is expected to wrap up this fall.
The work at Doubtful Canyon is the fifth of six projects to widen the highway from Star Valley to the Mogollon Rim. Doubtful Canyon will connect the previously improved Kohl’s Ranch and Christopher Creek segments, which were completed in 2006 and 2004 respectively.
Work in Doubtful Canyon started in late January 2011 and includes six new concrete bridges, improved drainage, additional wildlife fencing, rubberized asphalt pavement to minimize noise and create a smoother ride and new signage, striping and guardrails, according to ADOT.
With each section costing at least $30 million, ADOT said they got a jump-start on funding by applying for federal discretionary grants that could fund Lion Springs and three other state transportation projects.
ADOT is asking for more than $200 million from the Federal Highway Administration to fund the projects.
ADOT is pushing hardest for funding to improve the Interstate 15 corridor in the northwestern corner of the state. ADOT submitted grant applications under two categories hoping to secure funding for I-15.
“Investing in the critical infrastructure of I-15 remains one of ADOT’s top priorities, but federal funding remains elusive,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “As an agency, we are looking at all options to fund these projects to ensure the continued safety of motorists who use our state highway system.”