Throughout much of the past decade, the incomplete interchange at Viewpoint Drive in Prescott Valley has stood in the way of the flow of traffic on the busy Highway 89A.
Construction work should begin soon to rectify that.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), work could be under way at the long-awaited interchange by late November/early December.
ADOT recently opened bids for the project, and officials say the contract likely will go to the Arizona State Transportation Board in October for a possible award.
While ADOT had estimated the cost of the construction at $12.9 million, most of the 11 bids that the department received were for less than that.
FNF Construction, Inc. of Tempe submitted the apparent low bid at $11.3 million, and nine of the other bids were under the engineer's estimate, ranging from $11.6 million to $12.9 million. Only one bid - from a Phoenix firm - was higher than the engineer's estimate.
Three local companies were among the 11 bidders. Vastco, Inc. of Chino Valley, Fann Contracting, Inc. of Prescott, and Asphalt Paving & Supply, Inc. of Prescott Valley all submitted bids, ranging from Vastco's $12.1 million to Fann's $12.4 million to Asphalt Paving & Supply's $12.9 million.
ADOT Development Engineer Alvin Stump said the new interchange would be similar to the one that ADOT completed in 2008 at the intersection of highways 89 and 89A.
The department deleted both interchanges from the original plans for construction of the rerouted Highway 89A, which occurred in about 2003.
Stump pointed out that the earlier project included the earthwork for the Viewpoint interchange, but not the bridge.
"Basically, the earthwork is done, and (the contractor) will be building the bridges," Stump said.
In the absence of an overpass, the interchange has directed Highway 89A traffic to exit and proceed through the traffic signals that sit next to the unfinished interchange. Currently, Stump said, the incomplete interchange handles about 12,500 vehicles a day.
Along with the interchange, Stump pointed out that the project also would include the widening of the "Highway 89A Spur," which runs between the Viewpoint interchange and Fain Road. That work will involve adding another two-lane section of roadway to bring the spur to four lanes, he said.
The entire project should take about one year to complete.