KINGMAN - For several months now, motorists traveling over Coyote Pass on the way into Kingman have had to run a gauntlet of potholes created by heavy storms earlier this year.
And while Arizona Department of Transportation crews have filled in some of the offending stretches of road, much of the pass remains a pockmarked, torn-up mess.
Part of the reason it has remained that way is because ADOT has been dealing with continued budget cuts and personnel freezes which have left the Kingman district's resources stretched to the breaking point. "We are understaffed and underbudgeted," said ADOT Kingman district representative Michele Beggs. "We don't have the manpower nor the funds to meet all the needs across the ADOT Kingman district. Not just on Coyote Pass, but throughout the district, we have potholes."
But the condition of the pass has become so dire that ADOT is now attempting to fast-track a solution: a complete overlay of U.S. 93 from Grandview Avenue in Kingman all the way to Ranch Road leading into the So Hi Estates neighborhood.
The project, which is currently in the early planning stages, is set to repave about seven miles of road in both directions, from milepost 63.8 to 71.3 southbound and 64.8 to 71.3 northbound.
That's the good news. The bad news is, nobody knows yet how much the project will cost, where the money will come from, or exactly when the project will get underway. Beggs said ADOT is hoping to have the design completed by May, with construction beginning as early as September. But even if that best-case scenario comes true, it means visitors to Kingman will have to continue dodging potholes and road crews for months before the roadway is redone.
"It is a severe problem, and it will be taken care of, it's just a funding source hasn't been figured out yet," Beggs said.
It's possible that a second round of stimulus funds may contribute to the project, but with everything still very preliminary, Beggs wasn't willing to give any sort of probability as to that happening. She did note, however, that ADOT does expect to receive some federal funding for the project, though how much and whether it would cover some, most or all of the cost remains unknown.
"This is a serious deal. We need to get this fixed," she said. "We cannot continue patching out there. It's just not a long-term fix."
That said, Beggs added that crews will continue to fill potholes when they can until the overlay project does get underway. That doesn't mean Coyote Pass is going to be any more fun to drive on, but it may prevent a skewed alignment or two.