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Sun, Dec. 15

ADOT looks to widen Hwy. 89 between Prescott, Chino Valley

PRESCOTT - While the need for more water storage capacity reportedly drove the city's Tuesday decision to buy land for a new pump station, imminent highway widening plans also entered into the decision.

Officials with the city and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) reported this week that a Highway 89 widening project could soon change the face of the road between Prescott and Chino Valley.

And the prospect of the roadwork helped to convince the city to buy 20 acres of land northwest of the Highway 89/Willow Creek corner for the pump station.

"With respect to location, the parties wish to lock in the site to enable more detailed planning of relocated Willow Creek Road and adjacent land uses," stated a city memo on the pump station land purchase.

The memo added that the city and ADOT currently are discussing a future widening of Highway 89 and how it would affect the highway's intersection with Willow Creek Road.

ADOT Development Engineer Alvin Stump reported Wednesday that design will begin soon on the widening of the five-mile stretch of Highway 89 between Chino Valley and the Highway 89/89A interchange.

Stump said ADOT expects to finalize its design contract soon, after which a technical meeting would take place among involved parties to discuss the plans. He expects a public meeting on the design to occur by spring 2011.

"We're hoping to have (the design) under contract within a month," Stump said.

The widening project would begin just south of Road 4 South in Chino Valley and would extend south to the 89/89A interchange.

The design should take about two years to complete, Stump said, and the construction could begin soon after that.

"We have construction money in the budget for fiscal year 2013 and 2014," Stump said, noting that the department is estimating the cost of the entire widening project at about $25 million.

Stump and Engineering Services Director Mark Nietupski say the current traffic situation at the Highway 89/Willow Creek Road intersection would be a part of the design.

"The intersection at McCurdy/(Willow Creek) and 89 has issues with respect to volumes," Nietupski said. "And it is not perpendicular."

Stump agreed, noting that some adjustments are necessary at the intersection. "We have talked with the city about re-routing Willow Creek Road," he said.

Nietupski said the city has broached the possibility of having Willow Creek Road curve to the north before the Highway 89 intersection.

"It would be quite a bit farther west," Nietupski said of the proposed alignment for Willow Creek Road. He added that the relocation could have Willow Creek Road intersecting with Highway 89 north of Ruger Road.

Along with resolving some of the issues with the current intersection, Nietupski said the relocation also could fall in line with the conceptual master plan for development of the area, which he said "identifies a network of roads."

For years, local officials have discussed the need for the widening to four lanes of Highway 89 between Prescott and Chino Valley. Stump said the construction money has been in ADOT's budget for several years, but recently was pushed back from the 2012/2013 timeframe to 2013/2014.

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