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Construction projects will impact Highway 89 traffic in coming months

Three separate projects underway, in the works

Work is progressing on the Highway 89 widening and roundabout at the Phippen Museum Thursday, Sept. 7, in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Work is progressing on the Highway 89 widening and roundabout at the Phippen Museum Thursday, Sept. 7, in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

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Exploded views of the three areas of construction on Highway 89. (Courtesy)

More than a year of construction — along with the accompanying lower speeds, lane closures, and heavy equipment — is in store for drivers on Highway 89 north of Prescott.

Three separate projects, totaling more than $21 million, are in various stages of construction and bidding, with the final project expected to run until at least late 2018.

Currently, crews are working on two City of Prescott projects: a $5.1 million road widening and Phippen roundabout project; and a $2.3 million Sundog trunk main sewer line installation running along the highway. Both are affecting highway traffic.

Still to come is the Arizona Department of Transportation’s (ADOT) $14 million-to-$15 million widening on about a mile and a half of Highway 89 between Deep Well Ranch Road and the Highway 89A interchange.

That long-awaited project will connect the four-lane section south of Chino Valley with the City of Prescott’s ongoing widening to four lanes in the Phippen area.

City projects

The city’s widening/Phippen roundabout project takes in about one mile, running from just south of the Highway 89A interchange to just south of the Phippen Museum.

The Prescott City Council awarded a $5,134,777 contract to Asphalt Paving & Supply in late July, and construction got under way in the past month.

Steve Orosz, program development manager for the city’s public works department, said the project is expected to be complete by about June 2018 (weather dependent).

Over the next 10 months or so, crews will be widening the highway to four lanes, and will be building a four-leg roundabout near the entrance to the Phippen Museum.

“The roundabout will provide a new access point for the museum, new development to the east, and a new Constellation Trailhead parking lot to the west of (Highway) 89,” a city memo states.

In addition, the project includes a new box culvert, extension of the existing 12-inch water main, installation of a new sewer main, realignment of an existing 24-inch effluent main, and associated earthwork, drainage, pavement, curb/gutter, sidewalk, landscaping, lighting, signs, and striping.

The project is being funded through a combination of city streets, water, and wastewater money, as well as a portion from the nearby Walden Ranch development, according to the city memo.

Throughout the project, the speed limit in the construction zone will be reduced from its previous 50 miles per hour to 25 mph, Orosz said. He urges drivers to comply with the lower speeds, and to watch for construction-equipment traffic.

Orosz expects few, if any, lane closures, noting, “There will always be one lane open in each direction.” Any required closures likely would come with plenty of public notice, and may happen at night, he said.

The Sundog trunk main sewer-line installation to the south, however, has come with lane closures.

The $2,289,332 project involves installation of new sewer-main lines from the Sundog Wastewater Treatment Plant near Prescott Lakes Parkway/Highway 89 to the intersection of Lillian Lane/Highway 89 in the Granite Dells area. The project is a part of the city’s ongoing wastewater treatment centralization project at the airport-area plant.

Orosz said the sewer-main project got started this past spring, and the section along the highway is nearly complete. Finishing pavement should take place in the next two weeks, he said.

ADOT widening

Meanwhile, ADOT is preparing to open bids for its widening project to the north.

ADOT’s website notes that the bid-opening is set for Sept. 22 on the project, which includes construction of a new two-lane road paralleling the existing two lanes and modifying the existing Highway 89/89A interchange.

The project also includes roadway evacuation, embankment work, grading, a new roundabout at Perkins Drive, a new culvert, drainage, pavement, signs, and lighting.

ADOT District Engineer Alvin Stump noted that a contract likely would be awarded in October, with work to begin in November. The project is expected to take about 14 months, he said.

Leading up to the start of construction, utility work has already been underway by APS, Century Link, and Cable One, Stump said.

The city and state widening projects are the result of years of planning and coordination between the local governments, ADOT, and the Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization.

This past year, the city and Yavapai County completed the $5.6 million realignment of Willow Creek Road, which was seen as a providing a crucial alternative route for drivers during the upcoming ADOT widening.

Along with urging drivers to follow the speed limits and watch for construction traffic, Orosz suggests using alternative routes when possible.

Traffic-count figures from the city show that more than 14,000 vehicles drive on Highway 89 in the Phippen area each day.