New traffic lights imminent at both ends of tribal connector

PRESCOTT - New traffic signals will be going in soon on two of the community's state highways.

Arizona Department of Transportation Assistant District Engineer Bob LaJeunesse reported this week that preparation work is under way for installation of a new traffic signal on Highway 89 at the intersection with the new tribal connector (at Sundog Ranch Road).

In addition, crews are expected to install new signals soon at two already-signaled intersections on Highway 69 - at the Target entrance, and at the Frontier Village entrance near the old Wal-Mart location.

LaJeunesse said installation of all three signals likely would take place in January.

The signals are being installed in anticipation of the opening of the new tribal connector, which will provide a link between the two highways.

Although officials earlier estimated that the connector would be open by Dec. 1, LaJeunesse said delays have pushed back the opening until after the first of the year.

Officials with the Yavapai-Prescott Tribe were unavailable for comment Friday on the specifics of the projected opening date.

Over the past two weeks or so, crews have been working at the Highway 89 location, preparing the ground for the new traffic signal poles, LaJeunesse said.

Yavapai County currently controls that section of Highway 89, and will be responsible for the future maintenance of the signal, he added.

While ADOT no longer controls the Highway 89 section, the state department has been involved with the necessary permitting on the other end of the connector.

The tribe's contractor, Fann Contracting, has been working for months on the Highway 69 widening that will be necessary before the connector can open to the public.

That work involves the addition of two new lanes on the north side of the highway. After the widening, LaJeunesse said the section of the highway between the Target entrance and the old Wal-Mart entrance would consist of six lanes.

He estimated that paving would begin on the new lanes within the next two weeks.

As a part of the project, he said new four-way signals would be installed at the two Highway 69 intersections.

While the west-Frontier Village signal is begin designed for four-way traffic, LaJeunesse said its northern leg would be "stubbed out," and would not be active until future development at the site requires the fourth leg.

ADOT still controls Highway 69, LaJeunesse said, and "the signals will be ours to maintain."

Although the construction on the new Tribal Connector has been complete for more than a year, an update of the tribe's 2005 traffic study and a resulting change in the adjacent highway work reportedly has pushed off the connector's opening.