Work underway to restore limited access to stretch of State Route 88 east of Valley

Apr 26, 2024, 4:15 AM

Part of State Route 88 that closed in 2019 is getting repairs...

The interim paving project to restore a small stretch of the roadway will cost $4 million, ADOT said. (Arizona Department of Transportation photo)

(Arizona Department of Transportation photo)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Transportation recently kicked off repairs of a part of State Route 88 that’s been closed since 2019.

The 5 unpaved miles near Fish Creek Hill north of Apache Junction (mileposts 222-227) initially were shut down due to severe flooding.

Crews are removing vegetation, repairing drainage culverts and grading the roadway, ADOT announced on Thursday.

Despite the road closures from mileposts 222-227, hikers, bicyclists and horse riders have been able to use the area. However, public access won’t be allowed once contract work begins in the summer, ADOT said.

Why does this part of State Route 88 need repairs?

These first steps will clear the way for a $4 million interim paving project that will kick off this summer. The interim plan calls for various big changes, such as:

  • Removing boulders on Fish Creek Hill.
  • Dealing with rockfall between Fish Creek Hill Overlook and Fish Creek (mileposts 222-223.5).
  • Repairing retaining walls.
  • Adding new signs.
  • Cleaning and potentially replacing drainage culverts.

ADOT construction crews will start working on the pavement project once the U.S. Forest Service reviews and approves the plan. The USDA wants to ensure the plan meets state and federal environmental requirements.

Once the project is complete, it will open access for high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicles and utility task vehicles.

However, even after the project, further repairs will be necessary before other vehicles can access this stretch of roadway.

In fact, ADOT is seeking federal funding for extensive upgrades in the area, which would cost around $33.7 million. Those dollars would enable all sorts of vehicles to cross this part of State Route 88. They’d also make the roadway storm-resilient.

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Work underway to restore limited access to stretch of State Route 88 east of Valley