US 60 expansion coming soon … not a bypass

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By Mila Besich-Lira

Representatives from the Arizona Department of Transportation gave two in-depth presentations at the Superior Town Council meeting that took place the first week of Oct. 2012.The first presentation was about how ADOT funds transportation projects and how they are planned throughout the state.

Kathy Boyle of ADOT explained that with the recent decline in the economy and rising fuel costs that revenues to ADOT have declined.She explained that moneys to fund ADOT come through vehicle registrations and fuel taxes however those fees have not increased with inflation and, with fewer people buying new cars, it is creating a decline in revenues at ADOT which stalls construction and maintenance projects throughout the state.

The second presentation by Rod Lane from ADOT gave and overview of the ADOT projects that will be completed over the next three years in the Globe District.He explained that due to current funding most of the projects in the district were maintenance and preservation projects and not expansion work.

One of the hot topics in the presentation was the expansion of US 60 from the Arboretum to Superior; that project is called the Silver King Project.He explained that the project will extend the four lanes where they end now just west of the Arboretum into Superior at the 177 bridge.From the Arboretum to the Superior Airpot the highway will be four lanes of divided highway once entering Superior the highway will be four lanesundivided with a turning lane.This project is planned and budgeted; construction is expected to begin in 2014.ADOT has budgeted $45 million to the project.The Silver King project is one of the only expansion projects slated in the ADOT budget.

Some of the concerns raised about the four lanes coming through Superior is the access to parking for businesses on the highway.Councilmember Chris Tomerlin expressed his concerns that the four lane expansion will hurt the businesses on the highway. He asked if it would possible to just leave the highway as it is.The ADOT representative explained that the four lanes are planned but they will be working with local community leaders and business owner regarding the right of way issues on the highway.Currently many of the businesses are using ADOT right of way as their parking areas.

Local community members have also been concerned that ADOT is planning a US 60 bypass around Superior and the Globe-Miami area.The ADOT representative explained that the bypass is only in the studying phase, the project is not in the planning phase and has not been budgeted.In his presentation he explained that the state transporation board approved the study of a bypass but they have not allocated any budgetary funds for planning or construction.

There had been speculation in the community that ADOT had already made the final plans on both projects without any community input.Lane explained that ADOT will be conducting public hearings and will be working with Town Officials such as the town manager and mayor to ensure the needs of the community are discussed.

Local residents can expect to see some construction in the area of the Arboretum this fall as they begin construction on new parking lots for the park.This construction is not part of the US 60 expansion project and is a separate project that is being coordinated through ADOT for the Arboretum.

For more information on the Silver King project you can visit the project website at: www.adot.gov/us60study.

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