US-60 Bypass of Gold Canyon is Not Dead

A.D.O.B.E. asserts its relevance and calls for unity going forward with planning in the Foothills region By Don Dougherty and Ron Harris Co-Chairs, ADOBE Roads Committee In the past several months, there have been articles, opinion editorials and letters to the editor in the local news publications discussing the present and future planning of the…

A.D.O.B.E. asserts its relevance and calls for unity going forward with planning in the Foothills region

By Don Dougherty and Ron Harris
Co-Chairs, ADOBE Roads Committee

In the past several months, there have been articles, opinion editorials and letters to the editor in the local news publications discussing the present and future planning of the Gold Canyon, Peralta and Entrada Del Oro area. Missing from some accounts is the existence of a long-standing area organization tasked with planning for the future of this region.

Some thirty years ago, Gold Canyon residents formed an organization to coordinate the voices of its citizens and property owners—that organization is called the Association for the Development Of a Better Environment (ADOBE). ADOBE is not an “environmental” organization; it was organized to make Gold Canyon a better place to live (a “better environment”). You’ve probably read the ADOBE News column in Superstition Living magazine.

It is apparent from the various articles in the local newspapers that the writers are unaware that ADOBE already is the established organization with the political clout to address many of the concerns raised. People have expressed concerns about traffic congestion during the Renaissance Festival, about overtures to incorporate with Apache Junction and the proposed alternate egress from Peralta Trail along Sleepy Hollow Trail.

ADOBE has a number of committees assigned to task these kinds of issues and use the ADOBE forum to disseminate information and involve our community in public debate. For example, since its inception, ADOBE has had a “Roads Committee” that is charged with the responsibility of looking into and pursuing local road issues in the Gold Canyon/Peralta/Entrada Del Oro area. One of the issues the committee looked at concerned the increasing congestion created by traffic traveling through Gold Canyon along US 60.

“Freeway Ends”

In 1999, it came to ADOBE’s attention that the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) planned to extend a full-scale version of the Superstition Freeway (US 60) through the Gold Canyon area to Globe.

The proposed ADOT plan would have allowed for only two exits for local traffic, cut off access to local businesses (and to the newly constructed Gold Canyon fire and rescue station), as well as increased traffic speeds.

ADOBE viewed the plan as a threat to the future growth and property values of the Gold Canyon area and called for a public meeting. The Gold Canyon community unanimously voted down the ADOT proposed design plans at an ADOBE sponsored public forum (with overflow attendance).

Following that meeting, between the spring of 2000 thru 2003, the ADOBE Roads Committee pursued efforts to create a Gold Canyon Bypass plan in lieu of the rejected ADOT plan. The Bypass plan called for the Superstition Freeway to be re-routed around Gold Canyon, one mile south of the existing US 60 roadway, while the existing road would remain for local traffic only. The committee met with the ADOT staff, the engineering company, and ADOT Board members, until finally meeting with then Governor Jane Hull (thanks to the support of then Arizona Representative Franklin Lars “Jake” Flake).

ADOT agreed to have the Bypass project planned, engineered and environmental studies completed. It took until 2008 for the project plan to actually be put on ADOT’s schedule and, in 2012, the Gold Canyon Bypass plan was finally completed by Jacobs Engineering (including all engineering costs, environmental study cost and other cost considerations).

The plans stalled at that point, and then, due to other state transportation priorities taking precedence, the Bypass project actually moved down on the ADOT scheduling priority list.

At present, the plan is still an open active file with ADOT and Pinal County.

Over the years, despite the active support of former Pinal County Supervisor Sandie Smith, former Pinal County Supervisor Brian Martin and current Pinal County Supervisor Todd House, the Bypass project is still not on the ADOT five-year plan. ADOT says a lack of funding and other projects are taking priority.

Frustrated with this stalemate, the ADOBE Roads Committee began in May 2018 to take actions to move the Gold Canyon Bypass project along and has been meeting several times a month since then.

Here is a summary of a few of our recent activities:

  • Met with Pinal County Supervisor Todd House (completed July 2018)
  • Received support from the city of Apache Junction city manager (completed August 2018)
  • Polled LD16 Candidates (completed October 2018)
  • Conducted Gold Canyon property owner and business community surveys (completed August 2018)
  • Developed a strategy for public input through ADOBE (completed January 2019)
  • Met with Pinal County Partnership (completed January 2019; it supports connection to the North/South Corridor)
  • Met with ADOT Board member Stanton; ADOT staff, Pinal County Engineering; Arizona State Transportation Board; Pinal County Public Works in Gold Canyon (completed March 2019)
  • Attended “State of the County Meeting” (completed April 2019)

Articles published in the local papers indicate that there are many independent voices within and outside our Gold Canyon/Peralta/Entrada Del Oro community. The unintended result of so many separate voices becomes “Divide and Conquer,” and nothing gets done.

ADOBE invites everyone to take advantage of ADOBE’s wealth of experience and contacts and join together with us to advance our common goals. The ADOBE Roads Committee is just an illustration of the activity we can do together to improve the Gold Canyon/Peralta/Entrada Del Oro area if we remain focused with a single voice.

Let’s consider funneling the issues, concerns, and needs of our community through the established source of communication. ADOBE welcomes all those interested in this community to get involved and take an active part. ADOBE Board Members are listed with their phone numbers at http://www.adobegoldcanyon.org/About-Us.html.

The committees are active twelve months out of the year (the monthly ADOBE meetings are suspended during the summer months). Get involved and participate; make the established forum effective.

Photo above: Recent rains in the region created this awe-inspiring rainbow last week. ADOBE is the long-standing organization tasked with planning for the Gold Canyon area and preserving these unique views for the future. City of AJ photo

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