Board to look at spending $100M on 93

KINGMAN - Costing an estimated $100 million, the Arizona State Transportation Board will determine whether or not to move forward on the expansion of U.S. 93 near Hoover Dam.

Having already decided to widen the existing roadway from two to four lanes between milepost 2 and 17, the board will examine establishing additional right of way for the improvements at their monthly meeting at 9:45 a.m. on Friday in the Prescott Valley Council Chambers, 7501 E. Civic Circle.

"That will be the Kingman District's largest construction project to date," said Michele E. Beggs, the public information officer for the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Staff has recommended the establishment of a "new right of way as a state route and state highway for widening improvements to enhance safety for the traveling public."

The widening project went out to bid on Sept. 26. With the right of way established, construction is anticipated to begin at the beginning of 2009, Beggs said. The project should be completed in 2010.

Part of the project includes three wildlife crossings over U.S. 93 for the native Black Mountain desert bighorn sheep, Beggs said in an e-mail.

"The wildlife crossings are the result of collaboration between ADOT, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Federal Highway Administration after determining movement patterns of sheep in the region," Beggs said.

During a three-year period beginning in 2004, a number of sheep were collared and their movements were monitored in real time to determine where the sheep would go. Overpasses, rather than underpasses, were planned to maintain the sheep's natural behavior of staying high in the mountains above their predators.

Before the formal meeting, the board will hold a work session at 9 a.m. At the session, staff will brief the board on the fiscal year 2009 budget.

Former Yavapai County Supervisor Bill Feldmeier represents Mohave, Yavapai, La Paz and Yuma counties on the board. He is one of seven members of the board who serve as an advisor to the director of Arizona Department of Transportation.

Members of the board are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Arizona Senate to six-year terms. For more on the board, go to www.azdot.gov/Board.