Sun, May 26

Mingus Ave. extension project on schedule

Staff photo by Angela De Welles

AT AN OVERALL cost of $12 million, the Mingus Avenue extension project will take less than two years to complete. The new portion of the road will cross the Verde River and link with Cornville Road at Arizona 89A, creating a four-way intersection.

Yavapai County Regional Roads Program Manager Phil Bourdon said a considerable portion of the grading has been done already.

"It's a tremendous amount of work that they have completed," he said.

Crews are currently working near the Verde River. Because of environmental concerns, construction can not take place from May to December. Bourdon said construction crews and the county have coordinated with the necessary environmental agencies throughout the project.

Byron Jaspers, the county's project management director, said that much of the earthwork has been completed. Crews are working on both sides of the river simultaneously. On the Main and Mingus side, they're working on traffic signal improvements, cleaning the area up and getting ready to do curb-and-gutter work.

There should be a paved road for the nearby residents by early December, Jaspers said. Work is also being completed on the bridge foundation. Constructing the bridge will take more hours to complete than anything else involved in the project, according to Jaspers. The bridge will be about 1,000 feet when finished and will cross over the Verde River.

There haven't been any setbacks or delays in the construction, scheduled for completion in March 2005, according to Jaspers.

"The project's on schedule," he said.

Plans for this extension first came about in 1985. Officials from the city of Cottonwood did some feasibility studies and the extension project was put on the city's long-range transportation plans.

Yavapai County got involved about five years ago and is funding about $11 million of the project with money from the half-cent sales tax. Cottonwood will pay $1 million and is responsible for installing a stoplight at the Mingus Avenue/ Main Street intersection.

So far, construction has been limited to the daytime hours. But a request has come into Cottonwood for permission to do some night hauling next week for about three nights.

"They have to move a bunch of dirt from one side of the river to the other," said Cottonwood City Manager Brian Mickelsen.

Although the construction process is at sometimes disruptive to the residents, Mickelsen says every consideration is being taken in that regard. Jaspers said safety precautions are being taken as well.

"There's traffic control up and we've placed a temporary fence all up and down the right away," Jaspers said. "There are warning signs and barricades."

Officials from Vastco, the construction company that made the request for night hauling, have contacted the property owners living near the project and let them know what type of work would be done, according to Mickelsen. He said they're working with the residents.

"The contractors have been very good from what I've heard from the residents," Mickelsen said. "It's a very disruptive project."