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After several delays, Connie’s Bridge completion in sight

A rendition of the final vision for Connie's Bridge—officially, the Upper Pinal Creek Bridge—shows a much wider bridge to accommodate traffic and pedestrians. Courtesy image

After several months of unforeseen delays, the new Connie’s Bridge is expected to be open for traffic in June.

Completion of the Upper Pinal Creek Bridge Project, as it is officially known, represents a significant milestone in the rehabilitation of Globe’s aging infrastructure as the City focuses resources on building toward the future.

“We’re working with all our partners to make sure it’s done right,” says Globe City Manager Paul Jepson. “Our most important concern is quality: We’re focused on getting it done right, rather than getting it done fast, and we’ll be flexible on the timeline if need be.”

The project broke ground in January 2023 and was initially slated for completion in October 2023. Due to 37 days of bad weather, supply chain issues that added about four months to construction and the necessity to readjust 40-foot deep shafts to hold the new bridge’s pilings, another four months, the project fell behind due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control.  And deck modifications to line up bridge elevations with those of the surrounding roads will add another six weeks to the process.

In addition to the physical delays, the City has had to coordinate with several outside entities, Arizona Eastern Railroad , representatives of the Federal Railroad Administration , as well as EPS Group, our project design firm from Mesa, who are working in conjunction with Meridian Construction, the company building the bridge.

The new bridge will be situated to the southeast of the original Connie’s to line up with Hill Street, creating a more natural merge onto Jesse Hayes Road, with a right-hand intersection for access to Ruiz Canyon and Buena Vista roads. It will be wider to accommodate pedestrians and ease traffic and is designed to fit more naturally with the flow of Pinal Creek to reduce the impacts of debris washed down the creek bed during floods. The intersection should also be less confusing for drivers with additional upgrades to South Hill and Broad streets around the bridge intersection as well. 

It will also enhance the sidewalk project that is in the works to make Jesse Hayes Road safer for residents, pedestrians and cyclists.

The Mayor and council met with contractors early in April to discuss the issues that have delayed the bridge. Photo by LCGross

“This bridge will be much more efficient because of its design,” Jepson says. “Our priority is to build it right, there’s no do-overs. The last bridge was used for 100 years and we want this one to last even longer.”

Emblematic of the City’s vision for the future, the new Pinal Creek Bridge represents not only a bridge connecting two parts of town, but also serves as a metaphoric bridge to the future that embodies the goals of a City Council working to bring state and federal dollars to the community in order to build new infrastructure and rehabilitate what already exists.

“With all the development at the Community Center and the potential development of Rayes Ridge, it’s pretty critical to have access to that area,” says District 2 Councilman Mike Pastor, who represents citizens in the immediate area of the site. “I’ve heard concerns and some people are worried that the design isn’t as good as the original, but I think they’ll be pleased with it once it’s done.”

Another important aspect to the work is emergency access to Jesse Hayes Road, the location of vital pieces of local infrastructure including the Gila Pueblo Campus, the Community Center recreation complex, including Besh Ba Gowah Museum and the City pool, as well as the Globe Ranger District compound.

“It’s one of the main arteries that connects the east side of town to the west side of town and that’s critical,” says Globe Mayor Al Gameros. “I think the importance of this project is not just for the safety of the community, but to further our vision on creating a link between that important community and the rest of town.”

Due to its updated design, the bridge will also enhance flood mitigation efforts on Pinal Creek that have been instituted by Gila County in the wake of major monsoon flooding in the past few years.

“We’ve learned in the last series of big floods that something needs to be done on that creek,” Jepson says. “I think we have a very slim margin of error and have to keep the waterway in prime shape.”

The final total for the project is expected to be around $5.6 million, offset by our initial appropriation from the State of Arizona for $2.8 million, in addition to an intergovernmental agreement with ADOT for the Hill Street Corridor at $1.1 million, for a total of $3.9 million.

The City has budgeted $3.9 million to the project in FY2024, with portions coming from the Gila County ½ cent excise tax and Highway User Revenue Funds.

“It’s important to get this much funding coming to rural Arizona, because there’s no way we would be able to afford to do all these projects,” Gameros says. “It’s vital that we get assistance from the federal and the state governments in order to move these projects.”

About David Abbott

Journalist, writer and editor who has worked for community newspapers for more than 15 years. After four years at Davis-Monthan AFB and a few years living in Tucson, moved to California to find his fortune. He is happy to be back in Arizona, in the mountains he loves.

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