Originally Published: December 17, 2011 9:56 p.m.
After years of being on local governments' wish lists, the widening of Fain Road got its official kick-off this week.
Several dozen officials weathered the cold, windy conditions Friday for a groundbreaking alongside Fain Road.
The event marks the start of the widening to four lanes of the 5.4-mile stretch of Fain Road from Highway 69 to the end of the original Highway 89A "spur."
The project will continue the widening that occurred on the spur as a part of the nearly complete Viewpoint interchange.
"This is the culmination of more than a five-year process," Floyd Roehrich, deputy director of the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) for policy, said during the groundbreaking ceremony.
He added that the widening of Fain Road would provide a "vital connection between State Route 69 and State Route 89A."
Others lauded the regional cooperation that they said was central to bringing the project to reality.
Bill Feldmeier, the outgoing chairman of the Arizona State Transportation Board, said the widening project "really happened because the county, with the help of Prescott Valley and Prescott, put together a package" that helped to attain the ADOT money.
That package included the $1.5 million design that Yavapai County completed in 2009, rights-of-way, and Yavapai County and the City of Prescott's agreements to take on maintenance for portions of Highway 89.
The State Transportation Board approved a $16.3 million contract on Dec. 6 with Fann Contracting of Prescott for the widening project.
ADOT District Engineer Greg Gentsch said a planning meeting would take place on Tuesday with the contractor, and Mike Fann of Fann Contracting said he plans to begin mobilizing equipment for the project immediately.
The urgency for the Fain Road widening has increased through the years, as a number of fatal accidents occurred on the two-lane road.
A 2010 grant application for the project stated that nine fatalities have occurred on Fain Road since 2003. A four-lane configuration would have prevented most, if not all, of those accidents, according to the grant application.
With ADOT's acceptance of the road as a state highway, Gentsch said the official name would change to the Highway 89A Spur, while the "proper name" will remain Fain Road.
The widening project should take about 18 months to complete. Gentsch said it would require the construction of four bridges. During construction of the new two-lane section, traffic will continue on the existing two-lane highway.