KINGMAN - If the state's tentative 2015-2019 five-year capital improvement program for highways, bridges, transit and aviation is approved this summer, the Kingman District will see some major changes on I-40, U.S. 93 and State Road 68.
But the proposed improvements on the roadways and bridges will only be repair work to keep them functional and safe. No new building or expansion projects are slated for the upcoming five-year period.
The tentative program, which is currently receiving public comment through June, calls for $123 million to be spent on road and bridge preservation projects in the Kingman District over five years. Another $12.7 million is earmarked for Kingman Regional Airport on runway and taxiway paving, acquiring easements and other improvements.
"We've always had a preservation component in our five-year programs, with paving and bridgework each year for the past 10 years, and that will continue," said Michael Kondelis, district engineer for the Arizona Department of Transportation Kingman District. "The difference is we won't have any expansion projects in the new five-year program."
The tentative program's focus will be on preserving existing infrastructure to keep it in good shape. ADOT must prioritize its projects this time because of stagnant revenue from gas and vehicle license taxes and from decreased federal funding, all of which support the program.
Last year, ADOT had to cut $350 million from the 2014-2018 five-year plan because of substantially decreased revenue dedicated to transportation. No additional funding cuts are forecast for the 2015-2019 plan, but overall state and federal transportation funding continues to be flat.
The 2015-2019 five-year program includes a 3 percent increase in preservation spending over the 2014-2018 plan, with a steady increase in preservation funding over the next 10 years. Preserving the system means protecting the state's investment of $18.4 billion, which is the estimated value of the state highway system.
"We don't have to cut now, but we're still in the process of the last cuts and are still feeling the effects of them," said Laura Douglas, ADOT spokeswomen from the Phoenix headquarters. "We're choosing to spend our limited funds wisely to maintain our existing structures. We want to keep up what we already have throughout the state."
The Kingman District is currently working on two projects from the 2014-2018 five-year program. The first is the Antelope Wash expansion project, located about 10 miles south of I-40, which consists of turning U.S. 93 into a four-lane highway for two miles. The $20 million project just began and will be completed by May 2015.
The second project runs along I-40 from Rattlesnake Wash to U.S. 93 and consists of "milling and filling" pavement for 15 miles to get rid of bumps and holes in the well-used highway. Bids open this month for the $20 million project, which will begin construction in May and end this summer.
"It's going to be a busy couple of years here in the Kingman District," said Kondelis. "I'm happy with what is in this tentative program for us. We have a couple of important projects in it, especially with pavement preservation, so our needs are being met. We'd still like to do expansion on U.S. 93 - we have nine projects left to complete widening to four lanes between I-40 and Wickenburg. But those will come."
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