airport road

A combination of gravel and asphalt at Airport Road and the Bus Barn Road turnoff doesn’t hold up well to rain. It will be remedied soon with a City of Willcox new road project.

WILLCOX — Re-paving the main travel corridor within the City of Willcox was approved by the city council Thursday night.

KE&G construction of Sierra Vista won the bid, at $798,819, to repave major portions of Airport Road and Bisbee Avenue, plus a key section of Maley Street.

City Manager Caleb Blaschske was pleased to see the bid go to a private company rather than be tasked to city staff.

“We want to make sure we keep private business involved in the road building opportunity so that we spend more money on roads, than we do on staff,” Blaschske told the council Thursday night.

“KE&G came in about $800,000 dollars less than the next bidder on the Maley, Bisbee, Airport Roads project,” he said. “That’s our main corridor through there, it’s where we see the most traffic, so we will have that addressed and we had our second highest traffic corridor, Soto Street, addressed earlier this year.”

Bisbee Street starts at the Safeway shopping plaza and runs adjacent to the high school campus and football field and also runs next to the city’s major recreation site, Keiller Park.

Maley Street starts at the football field and runs past residential zoning, plus a couple of churches and the mortuary business as it finishes at Austin Boulevard for this paving project.

Airport Road starts at a Bisbee intersection and routes drivers past residential and school zones before concluding at Ironwood Road for this project.

“So we’re doing something better than the (current surface) on Airport?” asked councilman Paul Sheats.

“It’s going to be paved asphalt along Airport,” Blaschke said. “There will be a bus turnout of concrete on the road (at Bus Barn Road and Airport) that the school’s paying for.”

Mayor Like laws added, “We talked about this previously, but actually a full paved road is less expensive than a chip-sealed version.”

“And we’ll be doing ADA improvements and accessibility improvements so that we will have a complete corridor with sidewalks,” Blaschke said.

“Caleb and I were talking about that when I went to Coolidge,” councilwoman Terry Rowden said. “What made that little town look so great was the sidewalks that went around town. Soon, councilman Tim (Bowlby) won’t have to run in the street during his jogs.”

The city manager added that Willcox Rock and Sand came in with a sidewalk project bid that was $200,000 less than the next highest bidder, at a total of $169,911.

When the newest sidewalks are completed, Blaschske said “the walking corridor will go Rex Allen Drive to Haskell, to Maley, to the elementary school and past the community center and library, connecting the schools to downtown. We’ll complete segments that haven’t been completed in the past.”

Contracts for the projects are expected to be signed soon with construction expected to start in November.