Two road projects may get funded

KART also in line to receive $640K from stimulus

KINGMAN - The city looks poised to receive approximately half a million dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to go toward two badly needed local street repaving projects.

The transportation board for the Western Arizona Council of Governments listed the resurfacing of Bank Street from Airway Avenue to Beverly Avenue and the pavement preservation of the intersection of Sycamore Avenue and Stockton Hill Road as among Kingman's top transportation project priorities, according to WACOG's transportation director, David Barber.

"We programmed the money and I'm expecting within 120 days that they will be PSE-ready - plan, specs and engineering - and it'll be up to ADOT to bid them out," Barber said.

In total, Barber said WACOG will receive approximately $2.47 million from the stimulus act to distribute to its members in Mohave and La Paz counties, which includes the counties' governing bodies as well as those of Kingman, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City and Colorado City. Barber noted that the $2.47 million represents only a tiny fraction of the more than $180 million in project requests he received, and the transportation advisory committee subsequently asked each member to narrow their requests down to a single, high-profile priority.

Barber said those top six priorities were then arranged in order of importance at the committee's March 11 meeting, with Kingman's pavement projects ranking fourth after similar pavement preservation projects for La Paz County's Salome Road, Mohave County's Northern Avenue, and Bullhead City's Miracle Mile. Barber admitted it was unlikely WACOG's stimulus allocation would cover all six projects, pointing particularly to Lake Havasu's request for $500,000 for two new traffic signals and Colorado City's request for $100,000 for street improvements, which ranked fifth and sixth on the project list.

"If you went down the projects in order, (the funds) would run out in Lake Havasu City," Barber said. "They'll probably only get one of those two signals. The Colorado City project probably will not be funded."

Kingman Public Works Director Rob Owen said he was unsure how far $500,000 might stretch to repave both Bank Street and the Sycamore intersection. He said he knew it would be tight regardless, but just how tight would depend on the extent to which both areas have degraded.

Owen said Bank Street in particular was in bad shape right now, and the city would probably have to do a complete reconstruction of the roadway.

"I think we'd be ripping out that pavement and putting in new subgrade (filling material) and pavement, but until we get an engineer on board we won't know what all's involved," he said. "I don't know that we'd be able to do a full street section on Bank St. with the curbs, gutters, bike lanes, sidewalks - I don't know that we'd be able to do that with this $500,000."

The Sycamore intersection, he said, was even less certain. "It could just be a milling and overlay, or it could require more extensive work. Just by driving over it, you an see how bad it is, but structurally ... I don't know, we'd have to take a look at it."

Barber said Kingman is also likely to receive an additional $640,000 for the Kingman Area Regional Transit system, which would be used to pay for three new 23-passenger buses, a modular administrative transit building and nine new transit shelters for local bus stops. WACOG has also prioritized $544,000 for the Bullhead Area Transit System and $830,000 for Havasu Area Transit.

"I'm very proud of our transit organizations. BATS, HAT and KART are three of the strongest rural public transit programs in the entire state," Barber said. "The BATS program in Bullhead provided 181,000 trips last year. That's huge."

Barber said WACOG planned to present the list of stimulus priorities before the state transportation board at its next meeting in Marana on April 17. He said he was confident the board would approve WACOG's recommendations, at which point it would fall to the Arizona Department of Transportation to begin pushing forward with the projects themselves.

"The state committee that oversees enhancement has already agreed that this is what will be presented to the board in the next two weeks," Barber said. "At that point ADOT and Mohave County will work together to get a bid package out."