BULLHEAD CITY — The Bullhead City Council approved McCormick Construction’s bid of $649,325.55 to install traffic lights and make other improvements at Highway 95 and Corwin Road during its meeting on Tuesday.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Mayor Tom Brady.
The contract with the construction business is to furnish equipment, material and labor and will include adding a raised median on Highway 95 between Sterling and Rising Sun roads. The final bid is significantly less than the original bid of more than $845,000.
“How much is a human life worth?” City Manager Toby Cotter said of Highway 95, which is controlled by the Arizona Department of Transportation. ADOT has final say about the work even though the city covers the cost.
Work to improve safety at the intersection includes creation of a signal that will allow southbound traffic to flow freely but stop northbound traffic on Highway 95. The idea is to allow drivers wanting to turn onto Highway 95 from Corwin to enter the highway with a clearer path.
“This design is really good,” said resident Barbara Pape.
She also said it improves safety and provides “a nice entrance to our city limits on the south end.”
Some people, though, weren’t happy with the design of traffic improvements planned for the area.
Jaime Starr said she is worried about continued speeding and the loss of the median.
“Where are cars going to run off to when they misjudge?” she asked. “We’re going to have a lot of serious accidents.”
“It’s a very deadly thing if you have a light that doesn’t control both directions,” said Josiah Drawhorn, pastor at Amazing Grace Fellowship.
Cotter noted that there will be a flashing beacon to warn northbound drivers of the upcoming signal.
The city also could post signage warning drivers about the signal.
“It should have had no left turn out of there ever,” said Scotty McClure.
McClure also wanted to know what the radar detection equipment was going to do because he didn’t want something that could be used by law enforcement to write tickets.
Angie Johnson, the city’s interim public works director, explained that the system would act as sensors that control the signals, not aid law enforcement.
Cotter said it will be some time before the improvement work can begin — five or six months. McCormick is working on another project in Old Bullhead.
Poki stays put
Some council members came in wanting to move Poki the Desert Tortoise down toward Laughlin Ranch Boulevard as was suggested by the Parks and Recreation Commission. A couple of them wanted to move it even farther down the highway because of utility boxes on the north side of Laughlin Ranch Boulevard.
However, several people spoke against moving the Poki statue from its spot in the Community Park parking area near the highway. By the end of public comment, council members voted unanimously to leave Poki in its current location in front of the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce building.
Raenell Rhines, the chamber’s visitors coordinator, has spoken at every council meeting in which the agenda featured discussion or motion about the two-ton tortoise.
Poki has become a memorial to Bill Hayes, the man who donated the two-ton statue to the city in 2014.
“He called often to see how Poki was,” Rhines said. “Mr. Hayes passed away.”
John Pynakker, president and CEO of the chamber, also asked the council not to move Poki down the highway. He read comments from residents also against the plan to move Poki.
Hundreds of them have stated that Poki should be left alone, he told the council.
Pynakker said after the meeting that people contacting city officials — and speaking to council members at meetings when the stone tortoise was on the agenda — caused the council not to move Poki.
“Community involvement helped,” Pynnaker said.
Bravo the Bull will be placed on the south side of Laughlin Ranch Boulevard as a result of the council’s decision Tuesday. Council members also approved a $3,800 blast and primer job on the high-grade aluminum statue of a bull.
In other business:
- The final plat for Canyon Trails at Fox Creek was approved. The master-planned community will be east of Bullhead Parkway near Laredo Drive and contain 30 lots for single-family residential construction.
- A digital sign will replace the current non-electric display in front of the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce. Advertising on it would be limited to chamber members and community events. Revenue from renting the sign space, normally submitted to the city, instead would be reinvested in the chamber building. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management controls the land on which the sign will be erected, though it’s expected the site ultimately will be under city control.
- Sam Medrano, a former member of the city council, suggested to the council that a future second bridge linking Bullhead City and Laughlin be named the R. Bruce Clark Memorial Bridge, after the co-owner of KLBC-TV2 who also hosted “The Morning Show.” Clark died last month. Medrano said of his friend, whom he said strongly considered Bullhead City and Laughlin as one community: “He bridged the Colorado River like no one else had.”
- Rusty Braun, owner of the Riviera Marina, was recognized for his efforts to help the city present this year’s Striper Derby. Cotter said the event helped the city continue focusing on sports tourism.
- Samurai Noodle House Restaurant, 1047 Highway 95, Suite A-1, was recommended for an interim transfer and new series 12 liquor license. The license holder will be Jeffrey Craig Miller.