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Wed, Feb. 19

Safety plans for part of 'Blood Alley'

The Arizona Department of Transportation plans to make a portion of "Blood Alley" safer by installing concrete barriers in the median.

ADOT Prescott District Engineer Dallas Hammit told the City Council Tuesday that construction of the F-shaped (Jersey) concrete barriers could begin next summer on the two-mile stretch of Highway 69 from Stoneridge Drive to Sunrise Drive.

Hammit said currently the roadway has four lanes with yellow dividing lines and seven crossings.

The engineer said that 126 reported collisions occurred in this section of highway between October 2000 and October 2005. Six of the collisions included fatalities and 35 involved injury or possible injury.

Hammit said the crashes comprised six types of collisions including rear end, median crossover, angle/left turn, collisions involving deer, run off the roadway and other types of collisions.

Hammit said one down side to the concrete barrier is the elimination of left-hand turns along the road. He said one opening would remain in the area.

Hammit said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should complete its review of the study within the next few weeks.

Once the study and mitigation plan win approval, Hammit said ADOT will be ready to move forward with the design phase of the project. He said ADOT has $10 million for hazard mitigation.

"We think that if we can get the project approved we can get the money," Hammit said.

The engineer said the estimated cost of the project is $2.4 million without a traffic signal. If it requires a traffic signal, he said money might be available from the statewide signal fund.

"I would hope that we can begin construction next summer," he said.

Councilwoman Mary Ann Suttles asked if ADOT was considering extending the barriers into Prescott Valley.

Hammit said additional hazard elimination studies are necessary. He said the NHTSA could provide money for additional studies. He said it provides $3 million for each study, which is why ADOT chose a specific section of Highway 69 for the initial study.

Contact the reporter at prhoden@prescottaz.com

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