By Mila Besich Lira
For several years residents in Superior have been patiently waiting the US 60 expansion through Superior to be constructed. The project calls for four lanes of devided highway to be constructed to the Airport and the four lanes with a median to be constructed from the Airport to the Highway 177 Bridge.
The project is not ready to break ground anytime soon however the Arizona State Transportation Board will be voting on Friday to approve a timeline and scope for the proposed expansion. The proposed design of the expansion has drawn concern from the Superior Town Council and the Superior Chamber of Commerce.
With recent budget cutbacks at the State and Federal the Transportation Board is expected to vote on a proposal that will allow for a combination of preservation and major projects. This scenario focuses on some investment in major projects that are programed in greater Arizona will less investment in keeping existing highways in good repair. According the Transportation Board Agenda item Scenario C will allow for 39 bridge projects and 524 miles of pavement preservation projects throughout the state.
The board was originally considering three scenarios however Scenario C is recommended by ADOT staff; Scenario A only focussed on pavement preservation and Scenario B focussed on programmed major projects. Scenario C includes both major projects and pavement preservation. The Silver King/Superior Streets project was originally only included in Scenario B but was added into Scenario C earlier this week.
The community meeting to advocate for the project was called together and coordinated by Vice Mayor Lopez as an effort to educate the community on the expansion project. Ms. Wentzel the Superior Town Clerk gave a history of the project and shared how the proposed project could both positively and negatively affect the town.
Last month The Town of Superior along with the Superior Chamber of Commerce submitted letters of support for the highway expansion project but have requested modifications to the project construction that has been proposed by ADOT. The modifications requested by the Town of Superior and the Chamber of Commerce ask ADOT to consider allowing the access road (current US 60 alignment) to merge with the proposed four lane alignment going to the east. The current plan without modifications will create a dead end street just east of the Arboretum, forcing visitors travel west before they can turn East to visit Superior. The second modification request is to eliminate the proposed median structures along the Superior Streets segment. The proposed medians will limit left turns into businesses on the highway as well as affect the parking of several local establishments. Community leaders are concerned that the expansion without the modifications will create additional safety concerns and hurt the local businesses along the highway.
Steve Lopez a resident of Superior encouraged the Town to support the construction project but reminded the audience that safety must come before the money.
The group will meet again following the Arizona Transportation board meeting on Friday, June 14, 2013. A petition to support the construction with modifications is being circulated within the community to help show support. Petitions are available for signature at the Town Hall. Mayor Valenzuela encouraged everyone to contact their State Legislators, County Supervisors and Congress-members to request their support on this matter.
Mayor Valenzuela along with Councilmember’s Tameron, Aguilar and Estatico will be attending the State Transportation Board meeting on Friday, June 14 in Pine Top- Lakeside. The Superior Chamber of Commerce is also sending representatives and other community members are planning to attend the meeting to advocate for the project and modifications.