Middle Gila River selenium and boron draft TMDL comment extension announced

PHOENIX — In response to several requests, ADEQ is allowing additional time to respond to the content of the Middle Gila River Selenium and Boron TMDLs. These draft TMDLs were released on April 23rd for public comment.

In recognizing that parts of the stakeholder population may not have had time to read, consider, or respond to the TMDLs, and in support of trying to engage the largest stakeholder population that we reasonably can, ADEQ is granting a one-week extension for the submission of written comments.

A TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards, and an allocation of that load among the various sources of that pollutant.

Formal comments must be in writing (email attachments are fine) and should be addressed to dm4@azdeq.gov or mailed to the attention of the project hydrologist Doug McCarty at ADEQ. The address is 1110 W. Washington St, Phoenix AZ 85007. Only written comments will be formally considered and responded to by the agency.

The deadline has been extended to 5:00 pm on May 29.

Public comment period for ADOT’s Tentative Five-Year Program ends next week

PHOENIX — There is still time to add your voice to the Arizona Department of Transportation’s 2016-2020 Tentative Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program. The public comment period is open until the end of the business day on May 26 to provide community members with a chance to submit their input about the plan for the state transportation system over the next five years.

The 2016-2020 Tentative Five-Year Program is available for public review and comment at azdot.gov/fiveyearplan. ADOT has developed a “how to read it” guide and welcomes feedback at fiveyearconstructionprogram@azdot.gov. A phone number is also available for public comments at 1-855-712-8530.

The State Transportation Board will consider all public comments received by May 26. Public hearings have been held in Tucson, Phoenix and Chino Valley. The board is expected to adopt the final 2016-2020 Five-Year Program at its June 19 meeting in Pinetop-Lakeside. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the Pinetop-Lakeside Town Hall, 1360 N. Niels Hansen Lane, Lakeside, AZ 85929.

The 2016-2020 Tentative Five-Year Program lays out proposed projects and improvements to the state highway system over the next five years, with a major focus on preserving existing infrastructure to ensure that it remains in good condition, while providing a reliable transportation network for drivers. It can be a tough balance, as constrained funding simply cannot meet all the transportation needs around the state.

The Five-Year Program is updated annually and designates how much local, state and federal funding is allocated for projects. This includes highways, bridges, transit and aviation.

Limited funding amid growing statewide transportation needs continues to be the biggest challenge over the next five years. Fewer dollars dedicated to transportation is a result of less revenue from traditional sources of transportation funding, like the state gas tax and vehicle license tax, which support the Five-Year Program. The state gas tax is currently 18 cents per gallon and has not been increased for more than 20 years.

These transportation funding challenges have signaled a shift to a strong focus on the preservation of the state highway system, to protect a system valued at $19.7 billion. If ADOT did not invest in preservation, it would cost approximately $200 billion to replace our existing highway infrastructure, should it fall into disrepair. ADOT is committed to moving major expansion projects forward as well, but with less transportation dollars to stretch, fewer expansion projects make it into the Five-Year Program.

Vendors starting to set up at the Route 66 Street Market

Early shoppers get the best deals.

Early shoppers get the best deals.

WILLIAMS — Vendors are starting to set up for the Memorial Day weekend at the Kiwanis Route 66 Street Market on the west end of town.

Spaces are $10 a day or $25 for the weekend, whether a three- or four-day weekend. There is an additional $5 per night for those desiring to stay overnight.

The proceeds from the Route 66 Street Market benefit the projects of the Kiwanis Club International of Williams.

Good news for State Route 87 motorists traveling during Memorial Day weekend

PHOENIX — Just in time for the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend, the Arizona Department of Transportation lifted all traffic restrictions along State Route 87 today, Thursday, May 21 as the agency nears completion of a safety improvement project approximately 10 miles north of Sunflower near the Maricopa/Gila County line.

Since construction started in October, motorists traveling between Phoenix and Payson have encountered a series of traffic restrictions related to a $6.2 million project to reconstruct an existing curve to make it easier for vehicles to navigate through at milepost 227, as well as building a new northbound truck escape ramp at milepost 228.

In addition to all four lanes (two in each direction) being reopened through the work zone, all wide load restrictions were removed permanently as well.

The project also includes slope excavation and reconstruction, drainage improvements, new signage and new concrete barrier installation.

The new runaway truck escape ramp will offer an opportunity for out-of-control trucks, which may have inoperable brakes, to safely exit the highway and come to a controlled stop. The truck escape ramp is scheduled to open next month, but there will not be an impact to the traveling public as the remaining work on that project will be completed away from the four-lane highway.

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, drivers may encounter intermittent lane restrictions in both directions for miscellaneous work through the end of June.

The Weekend: Brought to you by Williams, Arizona

williams-city-logoThursday

  • The eighth graders will be promoted to High School tonight at p.m. Congratulations
  • The Cataract Creek gang is out and around. Gunfight at 7 p.m.
  • Bearizona open all weekend.
  • Marvelous Marv tours available all weekend.

Friday

  • High School graduation 7 p.m. Congratulations graduates.
  • The Route 66 Market opens for the season! The market will be open all summer. Tables $10 each or $25 for the weekend whether a three- or four-day weekend. The market is located on the west end of town across the street from the Williams Memorial Park, next to the Williams Justice Center. Open from morning until dusk.
  • Gunfight 7 p.m.
  • Star Gazing at the Glassburn park area across from Rod’s Steak House on Railroad Avenue 7:30 p.m.

Saturday

  • Annual Memorial Day parade begins at 11 a.m. in Williams. Please do not park on Route 66.
  • Jack Fuller Roping at the Rodeo Grounds.
  • Williams Aquatic Center opens. FREE SWIM. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Route 66 Market
  • Gunfight 7 p.m.

Sunday

  • Jack Fuller Roping at the Rodeo Grounds.
  • Williams Aquatic Center open. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Route 66 Street Market
  • Gunfight 7 p.m.

Monday

Happy Memorial Day.

  • Williams Aquatic Center open. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Route 66 Street Market
  • Gunfight 7 p.m.

More at Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce

WEMS Seventh grade students speak out

WEMS-15-05-18-1WILLIAMS — Several groups of Williams Elementary-Middle School seventh-grade students were encourage to Speak Out under the tutelage of Language Arts Teacher Lela Schober. During the presentation, she might have had second thoughts when one group learned during their study that she used the most paper in the school.

The students were encouraged to tackle a problem they felt the school had, collect data on the problem and present a solution.

Ms. Schober introduced the program and said that they conducted this experiment last year, but this year there was an addition. Citizens from the community attended the presentation, asked questions and also added their suggestions.
WEMS-15-05-18-8On the paper trail, one group revealed that too much paper was being used by teachers and students at the school. Their solution was to issue iPads to the students to conduct their work. They said that students would be responsible for replacing the equipment if they damaged it.

Also on the technology front, one group desired to have Wi-Fi access restored to students. They explained that Wi-Fi was available until one student abused the privilege. The infrastructure still exists.

Three groups cited a problem with electives. Either the electives are not fun or there are not enough. The presentation by Sasha Adrian, Kaylee Robertson and Mary Martinez included a hand-out which said that the WEMS middle school deserves electives to provide skills that prepare them for adulthood.

Among the electives suggested by all of the groups were shop class, home economics, ceramics, robotics and even forensics. One group suggested that teachers could volunteer to teach more electives during their preparation hour.

Three groups noted a problem with sports equipment and facilities at the school. There were suggestions that the school could conduct fundraisers for new equipment and donate the old equipment. One very effective presentation included photographs of the poor condition of the gym and sports facilities.

Apparently students and others attending sporting events have received splinters from the wooden bleachers in the gym. The students said that the floor gets dirty and slippery.

Carol Glassburn suggested the students might get in touch with the Arizona sports teams to see if the could contribute replacement sports equipment.
WEMS-15-05-18-3
One group believed that there was not enough time for lunch.Their solution was to start school fifteen-minutes earlier. Another group added that the school needed better lunches with a vegetable and a fruit choice.

One group with the best power point display pointed out that there should be a study hour. They cited studies that indicated homework stress. They said that students that have extracurricular activity have little time for homework and a study hour would assist in resolving the problem.

One group cited the prairie dog problem at the school. They noted that during track, students tended to fall into prairie dog holes.

Superintendent Rachel Savage, in attendance at the presentation, explained that there was a plan worked out with Arizona Game and Fish to relocate the animals. The person they were working with, however, was moved to another jurisdiction before the plan could be put into effect.

One group, surprisingly, pointed out that the school needs more discipline. They felt that disturbing influences distracted from learning.

ADOT responds to filing of legal action against South Mountain Freeway

Loop_202_freeway_challenge_2963300000_18473589_ver1.0_640_480PHOENIX — While the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration have not yet had an opportunity to review in detail the legal action filed against the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway, the agencies are confident that any legal challenges will find that the law was followed in coming to a decision to construct this long-planned freeway.

Following an extensive environmental review process that encompassed more than a decade of comprehensive analysis, with various formal and informal opportunities for the public to learn about the project and provide comment, ADOT received a Record of Decision from the Federal Highway Administration in March 2015 to proceed with the project. Throughout the process, nearly 8,000 formal comments from community members were documented, responded to and considered by the study team in coming to the decision to construct the freeway.

The South Mountain Freeway has been a critical part of the Maricopa Association of Governments’ Regional Freeway Program since it was first included in funding approved by Maricopa County voters in 1985. It was part of the Regional Transportation Plan funding passed by Maricopa County voters in 2004 through Proposition 400, and this freeway is the last piece to complete the Loop 202 and Loop 101 freeway system necessary for high-quality regional mobility. The South Mountain Freeway will significantly improve travel between the southeast and southwest areas of the Valley and help reduce congestion on Interstate 10. The freeway is also expected to promote economic development in the region.

The freeway will be constructed with four lanes in each direction – three general-use lanes and one HOV lane – and modern features that have made Arizona freeways stand apart from other states for a generation, including rubberized asphalt and aesthetics designed in partnership with the community. Construction of the $1.75 billion project is expected to take about four years under an innovative public-private partnership that will have a private developer design, construct and maintain the freeway for 30 years. This public-private partnership will reduce costs to taxpayers while accelerating construction.

For more information, or to review the extensive environmental documentation, visit www.azdot.gov/SouthMountainFreeway.

PROPOSED ARIZONA POLLUTANT DISCHARGE ELIMINATION SYSTEM (AZPDES) RENEWAL PERMIT

ADEQ-2Pursuant to the Clean Water Act and in accordance with Arizona Administrative Code (A.A.C.) R18-9-A907, the Director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) proposes to issue an Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES) Permit to discharge pollutants to Waters of the United States to the following applicant, subject to certain effluent limitations and special conditions:

Public Notice No.15-54 Published on April 20, 2015 Published in Red Rock News

AZPDES Permit No. AZ0021807
The Sedona Venture Sewer Company
7310 N. 16th Street, Suite 165
Phoenix, AZ 85020

The Sedona Venture Sewer Company applied for a renewal AZPDES permit for the proposed discharge of up to 0.075 million gallons per day (mgd) of treated domestic wastewater from the Sedona Venture Wastewater Treatment Plant to Dry Creek, a tributary to Oak Creek in the Verde River Basin at Township 17 N, Range 5 E, Section 19, in Yavapai County, Arizona. The Wastewater Treatment Plant is a privately owned treatment works that receives domestic wastewater from residential sources in Sedona Shadows Manufactured Home Community and Sunset Hills Resort. Waste activated sludge is held in the aerobic digester for a period of 45 to 60 days and then hauled to either the Butterfield Station or N.W. Regional Municipal Solid Waste Landfill for disposal.

The permit and fact sheet may be viewed online at http://www.azdeq.gov/cgi-bin/vertical.pl by typing the permit number in the box left of “Search Event”. The public notice and related documentation also are available for public review, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the ADEQ Records Center, 1110 W. Washington St., Phoenix, Arizona, 85007. In Phoenix, please call (602) 771-4380 or e-mail recordscenter@azdeq.gov 24 hours in advance to schedule an appointment to review the file.

Persons may submit comments or request a public hearing on the proposed action in writing, to Richard Mendolia, Water Permits Section, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Water Quality Division, 1110 W. Washington St., 5415B-3, Phoenix, Arizona 85007. All written comments received by ADEQ by the close of business on the date 30 days after publication of this notice will be considered in the final permit decision. A public hearing request must be in writing and must include the reasons for such request. If there is a significant degree of public interest, the Director will hold a hearing in accordance with A.A.C. R18-9-908(B).

New pedestrian-activated crosswalk on US 95 (Main Street) in San Luis to be active tomorrow

pedestrian-hybrid-beacon-1

Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon

SAN LUIS — The first pedestrian-activated signalized crosswalk in Yuma County, located at the intersection of US 95 (Main Street) and Urtuzuastegui Street in San Luis, will be operational starting Wednesday morning, May 20.

The specialized traffic light, known as a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon, is part of an ongoing Arizona Department of Transportation improvement project in the downtown San Luis area to improve traffic flow to and from the U.S.-Mexico Port of Entry, enhance bicyclist and pedestrian safety, and improve access to downtown businesses.

This special type of traffic light, which has been deployed in the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas and across the nation to improve safety for pedestrians, is a system of indicator lights and signs that controls vehicle traffic to assist pedestrians in safely crossing a major street or highway at a marked crosswalk that does not have a standard traffic signal.

Motorists and pedestrians are urged to become familiar with how a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon operates. Printable instructions may be downloaded at azdot.gov/PHB.

The light is activated after a button is pushed by a pedestrian. Traffic is alerted to stop with a flashing yellow light followed by a solid yellow light and then by two solid red lights, providing motorists with an unmistakable message to stop. At this point, the pedestrian is signaled to walk safely across the street and the associated pedestrian countdown signal indicates how much time is left to cross the street. During this period, motorists are required to stop and remain stopped until pedestrians have finished crossing the street, and then motorists may proceed with caution when the red lights begin to flash alternately and also the crosswalk is clear of pedestrians.

Steps for Activation:

  • When there is no pedestrian waiting to cross, drivers see that all indication lights are dark; the pedestrian will see a “DON’T WALK” symbol. A pedestrian who wants to cross the street will need to push the button to activate the system.
  • When a pedestrian pushes the button, approaching drivers will see a FLASHING YELLOW light for a few seconds, indicating that they should reduce speed and be prepared to stop. Pedestrians will continue to see a “DON’T WALK” symbol and should wait.
  • Drivers will see a STEADY YELLOW light, warning drivers the indication will soon turn to a STEADY RED light. Pedestrians will continue to see the “DON’T WALK” symbol and should continue to wait.
  • Drivers will see a STEADY RED light, which requires them to STOP at the stop line. At this point, the pedestrian receives a “WALK” symbol to cross.
  • As the pedestrian crosses the street, drivers will see ALTERNATING FLASHING RED lights, indicating that they need to STOP and remain stopped until pedestrians have finished crossing the street. Drivers may proceed with caution if the crosswalk is clear. Pedestrians will see a flashing countdown that indicates how much time they have to cross the street.
  • At the end of the flashing countdown, drivers will see that all indication lights are dark; the pedestrian will see a “DON’T WALK” symbol. Drivers may continue to proceed through the crosswalk if it is clear; pedestrians waiting to cross will have to push the button to re-activate the system.
  • Motorists traveling on US 95 (Main Street) should be alert for the change in traffic control at the Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon that allows pedestrians to stop vehicles traveling in both directions.

The $11 million San Luis Street Improvements Project, which started in October 2014, is slated to be completed by the end of next month.

For more information on the project, visit azdot.gov/sanluisimprovements.

One Vehicle Rollover Crash on Lake Mary Road Results in Two Deaths

FLAGSTAFF — On May 18, 2015 at around 1:30 pm, the Sheriff/Police 911 Dispatch Center in Flagstaff received a report of a one vehicle rollover crash that occurred near milepost 328 Lake Mary Road. On scene responders found two female victims who had been ejected from the vehicle and were deceased, and a male who was trapped inside the vehicle and who was still responsive. First responders extricated the male who was then transported via air to Flagstaff Medical Center (FMC).

The three victims are siblings. The driver who was transported to FMC is 21 year old Nathan Bighorse. He is in stable condition. The two females who succumbed to injuries were his 9 year old and 13 year old sisters. The vehicle was a Chevy ½-ton pickup.

Responding agencies included Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, Guardian Medical Ground, Guardian Air, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Blue Ridge Fire Department, and Highlands Fire Department.

At this time the cause of the crash is still under investigation by the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office; speed is likely to have been a contributing factor.