Plans for U.S. 93 eyed

Things keep rolling with the Highway 93 Area Plan. A second meeting of the Southeast Corridor Committee was held Thursday, when representatives from the Arizona Department of Transportation and the federal Bureau of Land Management were on hand to answer questions and explain what their offices did.

Ruben Sanchez, BLM field manager for the Kingman Field Office, used maps of the county to show committee members where the BLM owned land.

He said the bureau does not have a lot of land for sale along U.S. 93 at this time. This is partly because the 93 corridor has not seen a lot of commercial or residential growth.

Should growth along the corridor increase, especially if it could trade it for another property, the bureau may consider selling some of the land.

The bureau can also donate land to communities for parks, schools or other public facilities; however, once the land is donated, it must be used for that specific purpose and cannot be sold.

Mike Kondelis, ADOT's district engineer for the Kingman area, received the most questions from committee members. The majority of them revolved around ADOT's plans to widen U.S. 93 and the proposed interchanges along the route. Many committee members expressed concern about losing their access to the route.

Kondelis said the main purpose of the construction on U.S. 93 was to balance access to the highway with the safety of the public.

Every access point along the highway is the site of a potential crash, he said, so the more access points a highway has the greater the risk of a collision.

Installing interchanges helps control the number of access points and reduces the risk of accidents, Kondelis said.

In rural areas such as Mohave County, interchanges usually are spaced two to five miles apart; in more urban areas, it's about one mile.

Because ADOT prefers to build interchanges when traffic volumes or accidents increase, some interchanges proposed for U.S. 93 may not be built for many years.

Also, if only minor fixes are needed, ADOT would rather install crossover, acceleration or deceleration lanes than go to the expense of building an interchange.

Area plan

The committee then turned to the creation of the area plan.

County Planner Kevin Davidson showed a draft of a possible boundary for the plan that stretched from one to two miles away from the highway.

The draft plan's boundaries, which covered 259 square miles and 2,747 parcels, included all of the proposed Silverado master-planned community.

Water districts

Committee members then raised questions about the amount of water in the area.

One committee member asked if it was possible that residents would be forced into public water system in the future.

Davidson explained that county residents could not be forced into a district. As long as they lived in the county they would have to petition the county to create or be included in a water district.

However, if a resident lived in an incorporated area they could be included in a district and would have to vote themselves out of it if they did not want to be included.

Davidson said he would look into getting a representative from the Arizona Department of Water Resources to come to the next meeting.

Land donations?

Another committee member asked if it was possible to designate some state land near the new Interstate 40/U.S. 93 interchange for emergency or public use purposes.

Davidson said it might be possible to purchase or lease some land from the state in the area for such a purpose, but he doubted that the state would donate the land.

Next meeting

The committee set the next meeting for 5 p.m. on Feb. 20 in Wikieup in order to give residents at the other end of the corridor a chance to voice their opinion on the project.