Tonto Basin may finally get a long hoped-for bridge — just not over Tonto Creek.
The Gila County Board of Supervisors April 15 authorized an intergovernmental agreement with the Arizona Department of Transportation to construct a bridge over Oak Creek in Tonto Basin.
During storm events and high flows, Oak Creek becomes impassable isolating residents from goods and services, Steve Sanders with the county’s public works division told the supervisors.
“It is in the best interest of the county, the citizens of Tonto Basin and the public to construct a bridge across Oak Creek,” Sanders said.
In March 2009, Gila County entered into an agreement with ADOT to design a bridge over Tonto Creek in Tonto Basin, which included the Oak Creek bridge.
In 2012, ADOT had finished plans for the Oak Creek bridge while continuing to work on the much larger and more expensive Tonto Creek bridge, with an estimated cost for both projects set at more than $17 million.
The county did not have the funds to complete the job as one large project, so it opted to split the project into phases. ADOT agreed to separate the bridges into two projects and seek funding for the $2 million Oak Creek bridge.
In July 2013, Gila County Public Works applied to the Central Arizona Governments Transportation Technical Advisory Committee for Surface Transportation Funds to assist in the construction of a bridge on Ewing Trail over Oak Creek in Tonto Basin.
The county got $1.4 million and will make up up the $649,021 from its half-cent transportation excise tax. ADOT will bid, advertise, administer and oversee construction of the project.
Sanders said construction tentatively will start in July.
The county continues to work toward finalizing plans and securing funding for a bridge over Tonto Creek.