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11:35 PM Fri, Nov. 16th

New railroad crossing on Kingman Council's wish list

Public input will be solicited on proposed capital projects in east Kingman

Traffic on Diamond Street off of Airway Avenue is a nightmare for the roughly dozen families that live on the one-way street. A left turn lane spans the driveways of two homes. A resident told the Miner that drivers often drive the wrong way, speed and fail to stop at the stop sign. (DOUG McMURDO/Miner) <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

Traffic on Diamond Street off of Airway Avenue is a nightmare for the roughly dozen families that live on the one-way street. A left turn lane spans the driveways of two homes. A resident told the Miner that drivers often drive the wrong way, speed and fail to stop at the stop sign. (DOUG McMURDO/Miner) <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

KINGMAN - Plans to build a railroad crossing at Airfield Avenue and to improve Airway Avenue between Prospector Street and Rancho Santa Fe Parkway - at a total estimated cost of about $17 million - are two of the largest capital projects the City Council discussed when preliminary budget talks took place last week.

Less ambitious plans to make improvements to Eastern and Kenwood avenues at a cost of about $2.9 million prompted one elected official to ask for public involvement.

City Councilwoman Jen Miles at Tuesday's meeting requested the projects be placed on a future agenda so the public has the opportunity to weigh in. Mayor Richard Anderson directed City Manager John Dougherty to do so. The budget process for the next fiscal year and the 5-year capital improvements plan is tentative and the final budget won't be adopted until May.

The projects are unfunded and the two largest ones would not be part of the 2015-2016 fiscal year budget that begins July 1.

At an estimated $10.3 million, the most expensive is construction of the Airfield railroad crossing, which would provide a third option for motorists traveling to rapidly developing eastern Kingman.

The project would add a third railroad crossing east of Andy Devine Avenue and would roughly be halfway between the other two at Airway Avenue and Hualapai Mountain Road.

Designed in part to replace the closed Louise Avenue crossing, the project calls for Airfield to be widened to four lanes between Andy Devine and Eastern avenues.

The first steps, if the project is approved, would occur in 2017 and call for the city to obtain land and rights of way and to commission a feasibility and design concept report. The land acquisition and the report will each cost an estimated $200,000.

Design and engineering would occur in 2018 at an estimated cost of $950,000, with $6 million in construction occurring in 2019 and $3 million in 2020.

Improving a mile-long stretch of Airway Avenue at an estimated cost of $6.6 million would not begin until 2019 with the bulk of construction occurring in 2020, if this project is ultimately given the green light.

The improvement is necessary insofar as the Arizona Department of Transportation requires an arterial connection to any proposed traffic interchanges.

When the Rancho Santa Fe interchange is built, ADOT intends to improve Rancho Santa Fe Parkway both north and south of Interstate 40, with six lanes leading to Airway Avenue, according to the city.

Engineer Greg Henry in his comments said the plan is for Airway Avenue to have five lanes. He said the cost estimate includes the construction of curbing, sidewalk, paving and drainage structures, utilities and street lighting.

Miles also was concerned with a plan to improve Airway and Eastern avenues. This is a nearly $2.9 million project that will begin next year with buying land and obtaining rights of way, along with design and engineering services at a total cost of $850,000, with construction beginning in 2017 at an estimated cost of slightly more than $2 million.

Plans call for widening Eastern Avenue to three lanes from Pasadena to Kenwood avenues.

Nightmare on Diamond Street

The project is necessary, according to the city, because it would address restricted access from Diamond and Yavapai streets.

This project is also unfunded at the moment, but Diamond Street is residential and serves as a de facto feeder road to the neighborhood and traffic is nonstop.

Vice Mayor Mark Wimpee told the Miner he supports a project that would address a traffic nightmare for about a dozen families living on Diamond Street off of Airway Avenue.

Wimpee said the current traffic pattern has created a hardship for families living on Diamond. "Those poor people on Diamond have no life," he said. "It's dangerous for them." Wimpee said the goal is to move the traffic light and turn the two relatively short streets into cul-de-sacs.

In one 30-minute span Thursday afternoon, 55 vehicles - of all types - turned from Airway Avenue onto Diamond. Both Diamond and Yavapai are one-way streets.

No budget or capital project decisions were made and none will be made until May 5, when the Council will discuss and possibly adopt the tentative budget.

Two weeks later, the Council will hold a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. May 19 to possibly adopt the final budget and capital improvements plan.

The fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.

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