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Sun, Feb. 23

New access route from Government Canyon to Gurley closer to reality<BR>

PRESCOTT – A new route out of Government Canyon on the eastern side of Prescott came another step closer to reality this week.

The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to move forward with buying 2.2 acres of right-of-way for a new street segment that will extend Hillcrest Road east to Butterfield.

Government Canyon residents have long complained about how hard it is to turn onto Gurley Street (Highway 69) from Butterfield Road. The intersection is close to the "Y" interchange of highways 69 and 89, where heavy traffic makes it hard even to turn right onto Gurley.

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) will limit traffic at Butterfield and Gurley once it rebuilds the Y interchange.

Officials haven't yet decided whether people will still be able to turn right onto and out of Butter-field, or whether they will shut down Butterfield completely at that intersection, said Roger Hopt, maintenance engineer for ADOT's Prescott office.

When the Hillcrest extension is complete, canyon residents will be able to access Gurley one street to the southwest, at Robinson.

ADOT officials haven't decided whether to install a light at that intersection, but there is a light farther to the southwest at Bradshaw Drive.

It's hard to say how long it will take for the county to buy right-of-way for the Hillcrest extension, but it typically takes about six months, Assistant County Engineer Norm Davis said.

The extension design already is complete, so once the county acquires the right-of-way, construction can begin. The construction should take about four months, Davis said.

ADOT has finished the environmental analysis and design concept review for the new 69/89 interchange, Hopt said.

ADOT officials hope to start designing the interchange as early as July of this year, he said. The design concept report has various traffic flow alternatives, but the preferred alternative hasn't changed since the last public hearing on the interchange, he said.

The interchange construction is scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2003/2004, which starts in July 2003.

It's doubtful that Butterfield would be shut down at Gurley before July 2003, Hopt said.

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