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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news September 30, 2014

1/25/2013 10:02:00 PM
Work progresses on widening, signals for new tribal connector
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily CourierConstruction crews pave the recent lane additions to Highway 69 in front of Frontier Village near the new Highway 89 and 69 connector road Thursday afternoon in Prescott.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier

Construction crews pave the recent lane additions to Highway 69 in front of Frontier Village near the new Highway 89 and 69 connector road Thursday afternoon in Prescott.

PRESCOTT - Preparation work is nearing completion on the two state highways that will be linked by the long-awaited tribal connector.

And that means that the new connector between highways 69 and 89 could be ready to open to traffic within the next two to three weeks.

Tricia Lewis, senior community relations officer for the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), reported Thursday that workers expect to finish paving work today - weather permitting - on the widening project that has been under way for months on Highway 69.

The work, which will widen a section of the highway from four lanes to six, was necessary prior to the opening of the new connector.

With this week's expected completion of the paving, Lewis said workers likely would begin on Monday to remove the barriers that have been in place between the highway and the construction area.

That will set the stage for about a week of night work on road re-striping and activation of the two new traffic signals. Lewis said crews plan to work from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., Feb. 3 through 8 on the final preparations.

While the bulk of the work will take place at night, Lewis said it could lead to some left-turn restrictions for daytime traffic.

On the other side of the connector, Lewis said the Highway 89 traffic signal is in place, but is awaiting work by Arizona Public Service (APS) for activation of the new light. She expects that work to take place within two to three weeks.

"By then, all of the work should be complete on Highway 69," Lewis said.

ADOT Assistant District Engineer Bob LaJeunesse had reported in early December that preparation work included the installation of a new traffic signal on Highway 89 at the connector intersection (at Sundog Ranch Road).

In addition, crews were installing new signals at two already-signaled intersections on Highway 69 - at the Target entrance, and at the Frontier Village entrance near the old Walmart location.

While the west-Frontier Village signal is begin designed for four-way traffic, LaJeunesse said its northern leg would be "stubbed out," and would not be active until future development at the site requires the fourth leg.

Although the construction on the new tribal connector has been complete for more than a year, an update of the tribe's 2005 traffic study and a resulting change in the adjacent highway work reportedly has pushed off the connector's opening.

Yavapai-Prescott Tribe officials were unavailable for comment this week on the details of the connector's opening date.

Meanwhile, work also is progressing on plans to widen about eight-tenths of a mile of Highway 69 between just past the Target intersection and the Lamb auto dealership near the Prescott Gateway Mall.

In September 2012, members of the Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization (CYMPO) pointed out that the Frontier Village-area widening would leave a small four-lane island on Highway 69 near the mall.

This week, CYMPO - a regional-transportation planning organization - approved transferring $400,000 of planning money to cover the cost of a project assessment for the widening of that stretch of Highway 69 from four lanes to six lanes.

ADOT District Engineer Alvin Stump said the project assessment would determine the scope of work for the widening project, as well as the estimated construction cost. He expected the project assessment to get under way later this year.

The transferred money previously had been earmarked to plan for a future Highway 169-to-Fain Road connector.

Prescott Councilman Chris Kuknyo, who has pushed for the Highway 69 widening, said the transfer was a "common sense" move, because it would deal with a current problem rather than for a project that is likely years in the future.

"Especially with the population projections that were revised recently, it shows that that's not an immediate need," Kuknyo said of the 169-to-Fain-Road connector.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, January 28, 2013
Article comment by: @ I Like It

They should set up a big booth with free entitlements at the bottom of the hill to trap as many leftists as possible. Then round them up in large open semi trailers and ship them down to Juarez and set them free without guns. Maybe they could make friends with the cartel.

Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Article comment by: I Like It

I like the connector. Also, I wish the police would write tickets for one mile over the speed limit.
Also, confiscate speed violators' automatic rifles from their homes and if they are Republicans, run them out of town.

Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Article comment by: How to Pay

That is how they are going to pay for this new road. Police down at the bottom of the hill writing tickets as fast as they can......
Like someone mentioned, maybe it would be better just to put in a toll booth at the bottom.

Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Article comment by: Steve P.

The tribal police are welcome to go ahead and over patrol the connector. It will be a cash cow for police and the 'heavy-footers' wilI be hit hard. I have no problem with it as I will never use it. It is a win-win for me as it will loosen up uneeded other patrols in other areas.

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: Button Square Pants

That's just perfect, another 25 mph road to add to the other million 25 mph roads in the area...

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

Quite a conclusion for what should have been an ADOT "proper" interchange at 89-69 with a left turn ramp to east bound 69. However, I guess ribal objections caused ADOT to do this stupid bypass with two additional traffic signals for accidents.i

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: Jack Hamming

This will be a bonanza for the Tribal Traffic Police.

Revenue will triple.

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: Tongue-in-Cheek .

They certainly "TOOK" an over abundance of native hillside in order to just stick in a couple extra lanes. The community groused about Lowe's stripped hill for years, but now that the Highway Department takes huge hunks of hills at this new spot and at the flyover, no one seems to care anymore. Maybe it is just of case of hating private enterprise Lowe's vs. a government project.

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: Michael in Prescott

Well the tribal Police won't have to hide behind the weeds in the center divider on Hwy 89 or the entrances to Frontier Village anymore. With the 25mph road (signs went up as soon as they paved the middle section between the Hwys, last year) they will be very busy. 4 lanes , 25mph, hope they don't invest in speed cameras too:-)

That said, it is a much needed alternative to climbing Prescott Lakes Blvd on snow or ice, thanks to the ADOT boondoggle of removing the left turn lane under Hwy 69.

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: RJ Retired

Those U-turns are a result of ADOT's solution to the left turn that used to be under the flyover of 69. Their 'fix' to that problem was to just completely eliminate it and so now, folks who miss the 'around the Resort' route, or Prescott Lakes Parkeway, try to short circuit it by a U-turn on Sheldon. It also removed, probably the best flagstone masonry work on display in Prescott, the Veterans Memorial in the Tri-Angle. That removal done at 5 a.m. in the morning.

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: local guy

Expect a jump in the number of speeding tickets written on the reservation. I like the tribal cops hiding in the Frontier Village entrances with their speed guns, the ambush connotation is not lost on this western history buff!

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: Toll Road?

Any reason this connector can't be turned into a toll road?

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: just wondering

Can't wait to see what effect the new connector will have on the hundreds of daily u-turns being made in the middle of the road out in front of the Prescottonian motel. They are a continual occurrence and it is not at all uncommon to see three and four cars making u-turns at the same time within a 100 foot stretch of roadway. It is a traffic nightmare and has to be one the most ridiculous engineering blunders ADOT has ever made.

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