HomeNewsTonto Basin bridge project to be built in Gila County, Arizona

Tonto Basin bridge project to be built in Gila County, Arizona

A US$ 23M project for the construction of the Tonto Basin bridge in Gila County, Arizona has been approved. The project was approved by the Arizona Department of Transportation, a government agency in charge of facilitating mobility within the state.

The new bridge will create a link to the east side of the Tonto Basin, to serve residents during floods. Although the Tonto Creek is currently dry, in times of severe flooding it becomes the state’s second-largest river.

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Construction on the Tonto Basin Bridge is scheduled to begin by fall, a little later than initially planned. Once the bridge project commences, it is expected to take between eighteen to twenty-four months to complete. Funding for the bridge’s maintenance will come from the state’s gas tax.

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Expectations for the Tonto Basin Bridge project

According to Public Works Director, Steve Sanders, the project will face two main challenges. Firstly, a cell tower is positioned on the west side and needs to be moved for work to start. Secondly, the project needs to be delayed till October to avoid the risk of disturbing a certain bird’s nests. He mentioned that the willow flycatchers nest there during summer months and clearing or grubbing activities would affect them.

The Tonto Basin bridge project is being funded by the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant. Gila county was finally able to secure this federal funding after nearly two decades of work. Tonto Basin Rep, Tim Humphrey, spoke on how he had continuously travelled to Washington and pushed for funding. He said this project would help save lives and build infrastructure as well.

Steve Sanders and his team played a huge role in highlighting the Tonto Basin bridge project’s relevance. They also worked alongside their consulting engineers at Kimley-Horn, elected Supervisors and past County management officials. Arizona’s Governor, Doug Doucy also played a vital role in the grant acquisition process.

Woody Cline, the Chair of Gila County’s Board of Supervisors said the Tonto Basin bridge would address a major safety concern. He pointed out that about eight deaths have been caused by the creek’s flooding over the past 25 years. For this reason, the creek has to be barricaded each year for about 25 days to limit casualties.

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