A Look at the Proposed Widening of AZ-89
When the City announced the proposed widening of State Route 89 between the Phippen Roundabout and Willow Lake Road Roundabout earlier this summer, much of the early reaction expressed concern about how widening of the roadway would affect the scenic Granite Dells rocks.
It is important to understand all of the reasons why the City is considering this project, and the actual scope of the project.
The main reason for the project is the construction of sewer infrastructure improvements along AZ-89, between the two roundabouts. With the construction of the sewer line, the roadway will have to be rebuilt.
While the focus of the project is upgrading sewer mains to centralize the wastewater treatment processes at the Airport Water Reclamation Facility, we also have the opportunity to improve access and safety at intersections, reduce traffic congestion, provide for more efficient evacuation routes, and improve the ride quality for motorists.
The proposal includes four lanes, with a center turn lane or median. This means that a roadway of approximately 75 feet in width is needed.
In the narrowest sections, where the dells come very close to the current roadway, we have about 45 feet of width. This means a total of about 15 to 18 feet of additional width on each side of the existing roadway is needed.
While the exact widening method has not been established, modern rock removal measures include drilling and controlled blasting along the naturally occurring fracture lines within the rocks. This project will not require condemnation of private property, and there will be no loss of trails or recreational amenities.
A conceptual layout has been produced to illustrate the potential roadway improvements being considered. The city is committed to an open and transparent dialogue as we plan this project.
There is a link on the city website or you can go directly to www.SR89Improvements.com, where citizens can see additional information and take a survey to share their opinions and concerns. There will also be a series of public meetings to review and approve plans and budgeting for project costs.
As we close out 2023 and look ahead to 2024, I would like to wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!