Originally Published: January 8, 2018 6:02 a.m.
With about 60 percent of the city’s $5.1 million Highway 89 widening project now behind it, the community can expect the conclusion by about May or June.
But that will not be the end of road construction in the area.
Still to come is the Arizona Department of Transportation’s (ADOT) $14-million-to-$15-million widening of a mile-and-a-half stretch of highway to the north.
That project has been pushed off, and bids are scheduled to be opened in March, with construction expected to begin in May or June. The project is projected to take about 14 months.
That means that just as the city’s widening in front of the Phippen Museum is winding down, ADOT will be gearing up for its project – extending Highway 89 construction into the summer of 2019.
Tim Sherwood, construction services administrator for the City of Prescott, said Friday that the city’s project, under contractor Asphalt Paving & Supply, is currently “on time and on budget.”
The project got underway late last summer, and the city projected at the time that it would be complete by June 2018 (weather dependent).
It involves widening about a mile of highway to four lanes (running just south of the Highway 89A interchange to just south of the Phippen Museum), building a roundabout near the Phippen Museum, a new trailhead at the Constellation Trail, a new box culvert under the highway, and water- and sewer-line work.
Sherwood said the new two-lane stretch of highway was paved just before Thanksgiving, after which traffic was moved from the old highway to the new. Work is still to come on resurfacing the old two-lane section.
Meanwhile, Sherwood said much of the work is focusing on completing the eastern side of the roundabout.
“They’re doing earthwork right now to get the existing surface to grade,” Sherwood said, explaining that the eastern side needed to be filled in to raise the surface.
Along with the new stretch of highway, the new trailhead for the Constellation Trail was also paved recently, and is currently in use (see related story).
Also complete is the new box culvert – a 10-foot-by-8-foot structure that replaces the former 6-foot-high culvert.
Throughout the construction phase, the city has reduced the speed limit on Highway 89 to 25 miles per hour in spots. Sherwood said the project has caused few traffic issues, other than the slow-down.
ADOT District Engineer Alvin Stump said the state earlier opted to push off its Highway 89 widening project to allow for the completion of utility work by various area companies.
While the ADOT website had earlier posted a September bid opening, and then a November opening, a Nov. 14 posting delayed the bids until March 23.
“We could see the utility companies still had a long ways to go,” Stump said of the decision.
With the March opening, Stump said the state likely would award the contract in April.
The project involves construction of a new two-lane road paralleling the existing two lanes (between about Deep Well Ranch Road and the Highway 89A interchange), and modifying the existing Highway 89/89A interchange. It also includes roadway evacuation, embankment work, grading, a new roundabout at Perkins Drive, a new culvert, drainage, pavement, signs, and lighting.
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.