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Tribal highway connector paving starts

Les Stukenburg/The Daily Courier<br>Paving work is underway on a road that will connect highways 69 and 89 in Prescott, although it’s not likely to open until 2012.

Les Stukenburg/The Daily Courier<br>Paving work is underway on a road that will connect highways 69 and 89 in Prescott, although it’s not likely to open until 2012.

Paving is underway on part of a new road connecting state highways 69 and 89, and Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe leaders hope to open it next year.

Commonly called the tribal connector, the as-yet-unnamed road will be the shortest way to get from Highway 89 to Highway 69 in Prescott since the Arizona Department of Transportation redesigned the 69/89 intersection in late 2009 and prevented drivers from turning left off Highway 89 onto Highway 69.

The road will connect to Highway 89 south of Prescott Lakes Parkway, running up to Highway 69 to an existing stoplight at Target in the tribe's Frontier Village shopping center.

The new road will have a gentler slope than Prescott Lakes Parkway.

A stoplight already exists where the road will come into Highway 69, and one is in the plans for Highway 89.

It will be a U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs road, Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe General Manager Jim Noe said.

The state and county also have contributed money to the road. ADOT contributed $1.4 million (10 percent) to the road's bridge over Granite Creek, ADOT District Engineer Greg Gentsch said. Yavapai County will contribute $1.1 million to the road when it's done, Yavapai County Engineer Phil Bourdon said.

While paving is going on now, it won't include the intersection at Highway 69, Noe said.

The tribe just finished a new traffic study for the road's Highway 69 intersection since the previous 6-year-old plan is outdated now, he said.

"We're making good progress," he said.

The best-case scenario will see the road opening in the first quarter of 2012, Noe said.

The tribe has no current plans for development at the intersection of the new road and Highway 69, Noe said.

The tribe's Sundog Industrial Park is located near the road's intersection with Highway 89, and other commercial properties will be available along the route.

A side road might connect the new road with the Prescott Resort, Noe said.

Other tribal projects

The tribe recently completed a new community resource building near tribal business offices off Merritt Avenue that provides health, social, educational, planning and police services to tribal members.

And it finished an administration building off Highway 69 for its casino employees and a police substation.

The tribe is moving ahead on longstanding plans to build a cultural center near its Prescott Resort. The tribe's board of directors recently sought requests for qualifications from architects, Noe said.

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