A study for US 60 is currently underway that will determine the most appropriate action to improve and/or realign US 60 from the town of Superior at approximately milepost 222.6 to east of the city of Globe at approximately 258 in Pinal and Gila counties. ADOT, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), has initiated a Location/Design Concept Study (L/DCR) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the proposed improvements to US 60.
US 60 is a major regional transportation route connecting the Phoenix metropolitan area to recreational areas to the east and north that are located within the White Mountain Apache Reservation and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. US 60 serves Show Low and Springerville and connects to I-25 in New Mexico. In addition, the junction of SR 188 and US 60 located between Miami and Globe provides access to Roosevelt Lake and the Tonto National Forest. The roadway also serves as a commercial link between the Phoenix metropolitan area and several towns and communities in the study area. Mining activities are prevalent along this section of US 60, including mines near Oak Flat and Pinto Valley and in Miami. Near the east end of Globe, US 60 intersects US 70, which connects to Safford in the Gila Valley, and extends to I-10 in New Mexico.
As a part of a public road system on national forest lands, US 60 currently serves as a primary access to the Globe Ranger District of the Tonto National Forest and as an entry corridor to the national forest multiuse recreational lands. The Bureau of Reclamation's elevation of Roosevelt Dam and development of numerous high quality Tonto National Forest campground facilities around the lake have affected traffic levels. The additional campsites have substantially increased recreation use around the lake as well as traffic on SR 188 entering US 60 at Globe. Because US 60 also connects to US 70, it provides access to recreational activities on the San Carlos Apache Nation and in the Coronado National Forest.
The combination of a two-lane mountainous roadway, urban conditions, and vehicle mix slows traffic along US 60 and does not meet travel speed expectations of the regional traveler. Continuing regional and local traffic volume growth will increase congestion and operational problems. Based on the deficiencies of the existing highway and the projected traffic volume growth, the project is needed to improve traffic service and regional connectivity, reduce the potential for traffic crashes and fatalities, and enhance access to areas for public use.
The study will develop and evaluate alternatives for realignment and/or improvement of US 60 between Superior and Globe to enhance safety, traffic operations and regional connectivity, and to meet future traffic demands in the 2040 design year. The results of the engineering analysis will be fully documented in an L/DCR. The environmental analysis will be presented in an EIS prepared in conformance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA requires federal agencies to consider and disclose environmental impacts during the decision-making process. Potential impacts of the proposed actions on environmental, social, and economics resources will be investigated and reported in the EIS. At least two build alternatives and the no action alternative will be evaluated in detail in the study.
The draft EIS will be made available to the public for review once the initial study results are in. Currently, the study team is gathering data on the study corridor to identify potential constraints and issues.