Highway department responds to driver surveys

Arizona Department of Transportation staffers are trying some new methods beyond engineering and traditional lowest cost construction in response to driver surveys.

One of those innovations is a Motorist Assist Patrol at the service of drivers on U.S.

93 in the Kaiser Springs construction project 61 miles south of Kingman.

The area has enough challenges with engineering and bridges through the mountainous terrain and requires a lot of blasting, ADOT resident engineer Debra Brisk said.

A second challenge is the Joshua Forest Parkway section and the other desert plants important to the environment of the area.

The Federal Bureau of Land Management is working closely with ADOT to reduce any environmental impact.

Many plants are being moved from the construction zone and replanted.

"We have worked hand-in-hand with BLM staff on environmental needs in the area," Brisk said.

But motorists told ADOT, that their biggest concern is traffic delay through the construction period.

With narrow shoulders, rough terrain and considerable blasting required, a typical construction project in the area would result in extensive delays, Brisk said.

ADOT has added the assist patrol to help travelers through the area when breakdowns or delays happen.

In addition, the construction contract contains incentives for the contractor to keep the road open and minimize delays.

"The contract calls for charges to the contractor when delays are more than five to 15 minutes," Brisk said.

"Traffic management is apart of the contract and the companies are getting more innovative to save themselves money."

A Motorist Assist Patrol representative will aid distressed motorists traveling through the construction area when the contractor is not working.

"The program allows assistance to the motorists without using Department of Public Safety officers.

We need to keep the officers on enforcement duties," said Mary Peters, ADOT director.

The service is possible through the public/private partnership between the contractor, Ames/Kraemer, and ADOT.

Brisk said the highway is narrow and has no shoulders for motorists.

The next section of U.S.

93 to be bid is the Boulders section from Milepost 143.5 to 153 north of the Kaiser Springs section.

The portion from Wickenburg to I-40 of U.S.

93 is a key part of the CanaMex Corridor, Brisk said.

It is a long-term construction program that will result in a four-lane divided highway for all the route.