By Julie Wiessner
Though some Winslow projects have been on hold for about three years, the City of Winslow and Woodson Engineering have submitted revised plans for them and are positive it won’t be too much longer before these long awaited projects begin.
According to Mark Woodson of Woodson Engineering, “Last July, former city manager Jim Ferguson and I met with State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) personnel to see what needed to be done to speed up the process of getting the work going for the Transcon Lane South and the Renaissance Five projects.”
SHPO officials let them know what part of the plans needed revisions and why. They quickly revised and resubmitted plans.
Most of the projects are Renaissance ones related to the rebirth of the downtown area.
The Renaissance projects were undertaken after the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) turned back $8.5 million to the City of Winslow between 2005 and 2006 as part of an agreement under which ADOT would no longer care for the roads within the section of the city from either side of downtown on Second and Third streets, also known as Old Route 66.
The money was deposited and over time has accumulated around $1.5 million in interest, which is used to match a percentage of other grant money provided by the state for various projects associated with refurbishing the Old Route 66 areas. Renaissance 1, 2, and 3 have been completed for about three years, and included some landscaping and decorative light poles, and a western gateway on Hipkoe Drive down Fleming Street, as well as sidewalks, gutters, curbs, some streetscapes and handicapped ramps.
Woodson said, “What was at first called Renaissance 4 is now called Transcon Lane south on the south side of the I-40 freeway. This project was projected to cost $625,000 in federal aid grant money, with the city contributing five percent of that amount or $300,000.
“Renaissance 5 is the three blocks of Second and Third streets on either side of Renaissance 2. Renaissance 2 is the five blocks from Berry on the west to Williamson on the east of both Second and Third Streets.”
Renaissance 5 includes the same improvements to the sidewalks as Renaissance 2, and will include the sidewalks in front of the Hubble Trading Post/Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center.
“We want to make the sidewalks and streetscapes more appealing and safer for pedestrian traffic,” said Dennis Hattem, senior project manager for Woodson Engineering.
“Another use of turnback/grant money is for the Route 66 Plaza. The designs were approved by city council during their last meeting and the grant cost is $488,000. The city’s cost will be a percentage of that amount, but right now we do not know exactly how much that will be. We anticipate this project being constructed by the middle of 2014.”
Woodson clarified how ADOT turnback funding can be used, noting, “The turnback money does not have to be matched. It can be used in whatever manner the city chooses. The Route 66 Plaza has a grant and that has to be matched with city funds, which could come from turnback monies.”
Hattem continued, “Since this project is partially funded by the federal government under its Scenic Byways program, it needs to be reviewed by both ADOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). But we expect the reviews to go smoothly.”
Hattem said he feels that all three projects will likely be completed by the end of summer or early fall of 2014.
“With completion of Renaissance 5, about 90 percent of what was envisioned by the city for the downtown Renaissance projects will be completed,” he concluded.
By Julie Wiessner