BISBEE — Keeping up with the Cochise County’s 1,441 miles of roads each year is a monumental task and the county Board of Supervisors heard just how expensive it can be.
Thanks to Highway User Revenue Funds, which is the county share of state fuel tax, the Public Works Highways Department is able to manage a maintenance system for the most part, with added help from state and federal grants.
Jackie Watkins, director of Engineering and Natural Resources Department, presented a five-year plan dealing with the county’s more problematic roads requiring substantial work and the sticker shock that accompanies the various multimillion dollar projects.
HURF provides funding for engineering design, bridges, construction, maintenance and to purchase right of ways for the highway projects, she said.
Watkins said Highways has a contingency fund of $7 million it can use over the next few years to pay for the projects through 2023-24.
After that, the county would need to find additional funds of $2.472 million for 2024-25 and $12 million for 2025-26.
Since the county only receives about $3 million from HURF annually, Watkins said she would be looking for federal grants to be able to accomplish what she has set in motion.
Many projects will take a number of years to complete, like the flood scoured box culvert bridges on Leslie Canyon Road and Geronimo Trail that suffered heavy damage in this summer’s monsoon. Watkins has them planned out over five years.
The same is true for the Moson Road project. It will cost about $5.6 million to upgrade and Davis Road will cost about $4.335 million. That comes to more than $10 million for two roads.
2021-22 HURF projects
For the current fiscal year, there will be replacement of two box culvert bridges that divert floodwater into prescribed channels. In the past monsoon, bridges on Geronimo Trail and Leslie Canyon Road were damaged and need to be replaced at a cost estimated at $600,000.
The Leslie Canyon Road bridges need to be able to carry heavier traffic as people in the area often have to haul water and need a bridge that will support the heavy loads that can exceed the 10-ton limit, Watkins said. Some of the culverts were installed in the 1940s and need to be replaced.
Those projects will be put out for bids.
Geotechnical testing, which allows analysis of the soil and ground under a roadway, are planned for Naco Highway, Kansas Settlement, Fort Grant Road, David Road and Central Highway at a cost of $30,000.
Davis Road improvements from Central Highway to U.S. Route 191 were designed five years ago and are in the process of acquisition of right of ways. The titles and appraisals are estimated to cost $155,000, Watkins said.
Since the road design was done with federal funding, the county has to follow the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Act and needs to have two appraisals and a title report, which will take a few years. The process has to go thru the Arizona Department of Transportation, Watkins said.
One of the prime problem highways in the county is Moson Road and all its washes. The long-range project to rebuild the road to handle more traffic began several years ago. There were right of way concerns on 51 parcels along the road that carried a $250,000 price tag alone. The design concept report will cost another $300,000, she said.
The Hardy Road 2-mile project in Willcox includes right of way acquisitions, in-house DCR and chip sealing and is estimated to cost $1 million.
Arzberger Road in the Kansas Settlement area is another county road seeing more heavy truck traffic, Watkins said. She said they would do the DCR for 5 miles of the road.
Total for 2021-22 is $2.335 million.
Replacement of two box culverts on Leslie Canyon and one on Geronimo Trail will cost $600,000.
The multiyear Moson Road project continues with an estimated $1 million to design it for 7.75 miles from State Route 90 to Hereford Road and another $355,000 for land purchase costs. This involves a lot of driveways opening onto Moson Road, Watkins said.
Naco Highway roadway design and surveys will begin moving forward with asphalt concrete mill and fill, which is grinding up the old asphalt and replacing it with new over 3.57 miles at a cost of $2 million. Up to 20% of the old asphalt can be used in the mix of the new asphalt so it helps with recycling, said Watkins.
In-house DCRs for 5 miles of Sheldon Road and 13.56 miles of Cochise Stronghold are planned.
Costs total $4.327 million.
One box culvert each is planned for Leslie Canyon, Geronimo Trail and Portal Road at $600,000.
Twelve miles of Kansas Settlement Road from SR 186 to Shelton Road are slated to be redone with asphalt and concrete mill and fill to handle heavier truck traffic at a cost of $7 million.
Arzberger Road continued right of way acquisition will cost $200,000.
North Moson Road and Middlemarch Road will undergo in-house roadway design.
Total costs are $7.8 million.
Two more box culverts for Leslie Canyon and one more for Portal Road will be replaced for $600,000.
Moson Road phased road construction will cost $2 million.
Shelton Road will see an upgrade to asphalt concrete for 5 miles at a cost of $2.250 million.
Arzberger Road will be upgraded to asphalt concrete and widened to 28 feet for 5 miles at a cost of $2.350 million.
Total cost: $7.1 million.
Leslie Canyon will get two more box culverts and Portal one at a cost of $600,000.
Phase construction of Moson Road will begin at a cost of $2 million.
Continued work on Kansas Settlement Road to replace the existing pavement with asphalt concrete mill and fill will cost $3 million for 8 miles of road from Shelton to U.S. Route 191.
Total cost: $12.6 million.
To review the presentation from the meeting or to watch the proceedings, go to: https://destinyhosted.com/agenda_publish.cfm?mt=ALL&get_month=10&get_year=2021&countDownload=&downloadFile=&id=26244&loc=&term=N.