By Nina Crowder
Last week the Superior Town Council took steps to keep talks going and information flowing between the Arizona Department of Transportation and Resolution Copper Mining and the council.
After much consideration and discussion regarding the State of Arizona’s plan to widen and expand Highway 60 through Superior, the council appointed Mayor Jayme Valenzuela and Councilwoman Mila Besich Lira to serve as liaisons between ADOT and the town. The two will help with understanding issues and conveying to the community the details of the Highway 60 expansion project.
The suggestion of appointing the liaisons came from several members of the council who attended a recent Superior Chamber of Commerce meeting.
“What we are hearing right now is the people would like to see a more unified voice,” said Besich Lira. “Right now ADOT is receiving messages, emails, correspondence; they are hearing from different residents of the community and want to be able to hear the concerns. They can’t promise to make any changes. But without having some dialog from the Town Council I think we are all a little confused.”
According to ADOT, the project is to improve and/or realign US60 from the town of Superior from milepost 222.6 to east of the city of Globe at milepost 258 in Pinal County and Gila Counties. ADOT in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has initiated the location concept studies and environmental impact statements (EIS) to evaluate the improvement project. The study has developed the proposed improvements to enhance safety, traffic operations and regional connectivity and to meet future traffic demands. The plan is to widen the highway to four lanes with a raised median. Additionally, Main St. will be realigned to match the location of the planned Circle K driveway.
Valenzuela, through his conversation with ADOT representative Jesse Gutierrez, affirmed that the project will proceed. “The funding is in place,” Valenzuela said.
The Planning and Zoning Commission met earlier in the week, Valenzuela said and reaffirmed moving forward with the realignment.
“There will be other issues,” Valenzuela said. “ADOT will listen, but can’t make any promises. The main and upmost concern they have is safety.” Valenzuela added that he realizes this is a major impact on our community.
“The council is in support of this project and are moving forward on this,” Valenzuela concluded. “The town council will give it their all but in the end we have to deal with the cards we have been dealt.”
At the same meeting, the council agreed to name Councilmen Gilbert Aguilar and Steve Estatico as liaisons to Resolution Copper Mining. The two, along with interim manager Margaret Gaston and the town’s attorneys, will open discussions with the company about economic development. RCM representatives Dave Richins and Andrew Taplin were on hand at the Thursday night meeting. They thanked the council for this decision.
In other business, the council were told of three openings on the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved advertising to fill them. The term for a commissioner is three years. The Town of Superior is actively looking for three qualified people to fill these current openings.
The council was told of the upcoming Let’s Talk Trash clean up event on Dec. 7 beginning at 7 a.m. RCM has donated 12 roll-offs to help.
Also on the calendar is Miracle on Main St. on Dec. 7 and the Dec. 19 Superior Town Council meeting at 7 p.m. at the Senior Center. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.