BULLHEAD CITY — The Bullhead City Council voted 6-1 to spend additional money toward building a second Bullhead City-Laughlin bridge during its meeting on Tuesday.

Mayor Tom Brady voted against the motion to create an intergovernmental agreement with Clark County, Nevada, and other entities involved with the bridge project that would keep the payment from topping $4.5 million for Bullhead City’s half of the $9 million funding gap to construct the bridge.

The city already had pledged to pay for expenses related to bridge infrastructure on the Arizona side of the Colorado River. That amount is expected to total more than $3 million. Bullhead City’s share of the estimated $58 million project could reach about $7.7 million.

While there were a variety of opinions expressed by residents who spoke at a workshop prior to Tuesday night’s regular meeting and at that meeting itself, council members said more constituents said they wanted to see the bridge built than not.

Some residents asked if the bridge could be a toll route. City Manager Toby Cotter explained that Arizona doesn’t allow for that arrangement.

Brady made a presentation to the council during Tuesday afternoon’s workshop.

“This is one of the most important decisions to make for years to come,” he said. “There’s no need to make a hurried decision tonight.”

He advised council members to back off for up to a year to negotiate with Nevada entities to potentially reduce the city’s share of the cost, and to see if Arizona state legislators or the state’s U.S. senators and congressional representatives could find money.

Brady said he timed trips from Bullhead City to Laughlin using the proposed bridge site at Bullhead Parkway versus the existing crossings: Laughlin Bridge and the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge, which links Fort Mohave to the Avi Casino Resort along Aztec Road.

He asserted that taking into account the proposed speed limit of 35 mph and other factors would result in some trips taking longer from Bullhead City to Laughlin than they do now.

The proposed location of the bridge would link Bullhead City and Laughlin at Bullhead Parkway and go over the river to meet a three-mile extension from Needles Highway on the Nevada side.

Brady suggested that, instead of paying for the bridge, the $7.7 million be used to pay for road improvements on routes to serve as alternatives to Highway 95 so more drivers would be able to stay off of it.

“The whole purpose of the bridge is to get traffic off Highway 95,” he said. “I think the money could be better spent for our residents.”

Council Member Sheila Shutts said she had concerns, including having only Veteran’s Memorial Bridge available should something happen to make the Laughlin Bridge inaccessible. She said waiting too long to build another bridge could end up making that project “much more expensive.”

And when Shutts worried about how businesses on the south side of the city would be affected by a long wait for a bridge near there, Brady said that locating the new bridge that far south may cause people coming in from Laughlin to go to the Fort Mohave/Mohave Valley area instead of spending their money in Bullhead City.

Shutts said that there will be many more people living on the Parkway — and south of it — 20 years from now. Other potential sites for the bridge to meet the river, such as at Riverview Drive, would greatly increase traffic through the middle of the city.

“We’re looking to the future,” she said about the project.

When it came time for the vote during the meeting, other council members agreed with Shutts’ opinion is that it’s time to move forward and get the project under way.

“This is a long time coming,” said Council Member Annette Wegmann. “We need to move forward.”

Even as Council Member Steve D’Amico said he didn’t want to spend the money, he admitted that “we need a bridge.”

His route from home to work was one highlighted by Brady because, by Brady’s calculations, it would take longer for D’Amico to get to work in Laughlin using the bridge at the Parkway than his current route.

Council Member Mark Clark pointed out that the project isn’t part of the city’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1, and was among those who also noted that the project likely won’t begin for at least another year.

That will give the city some time to try to negotiate its share, as well as work with state and federal officials in the hopes of obtaining some money from the state or federal government to offset the cost, Clark said.

Brady said he has started working with Arizona State Rep. Regina Cobb, R-District 5, on obtaining partial funding from the state. He asked the council members to wait until negotiations and funding assistance options were explored before making a decision.

Whatever the amount Bullhead City would pay, it would have to borrow it, said City Manager Toby Cotter.

The mayor and several others again expressed anger with the Laughlin Town Advisory Board for withdrawing support for the project last fall. Not only had Bullhead City officials already arranged for a bond to finance the agreed-upon infrastructure work on the Arizona side leading to the bridge site, Mohave County was going out to bid on the project for construction to begin in January, Brady said.

In other business, the council:

  • Approved the proposed 2019-2020 Fiscal Year budget. D’Amico and Brady wanted money removed for Pump and Tot cycling tracks to be added to Rotary Park during the upcoming budget cycle beginning July 1. Brady also criticized the feasibility study accepted by council members last month while he was out of town by describing it as a “cut-and-paste job.”
  • Consented to application by the Bullhead City Police Department for a U.S. Department of Justice grant to help pay for 23 bulletproof vests.
  • Recommended liquor licenses for River City Chevron and Sun Country Airlines. The request for a license recommendation for Samurai Noodle House was postponed.

(5) comments

Fort Mohave Resident

It's time for Shady Brady to go. This guy is out of his mind. Leave Brady and take his puppet Cotter with you.

Teddy

I have lived in Laughlin for 15 years and that is how long they have been talking about a new bridge. I am happy to see that Bullhead City council finally made a decision. Bullhead business is going to profit more than Laughlin. In Laughlin we are sick of paying all the sales taxes to Bullhead while the Mayor sits on his hands to help us.

Hombre

Lets put it to the people .....Lets us all that drive the area have a say on where we would prefer the bridge ....Put a ballot in next months water bill to return with your payment

Mitch

Don Laughlin paid for the last one himself,all the other casinos make as much or more than he does,,,have them chip in,they are enjoying the customers that will use this new bridge ! Why should it come out of bullheads pocket ? Do we need access to the casinos? NO,we should look into building casinos on our side then we won't need a new bridge. Just like the new road up to the park way ,,was that really needed? To spend millions of dollars? Who owns land that was unaccessible before ,but now has access ? Ahhh there is the start of the parkway just a short distance away,,,hummm there is silver Creek it's not that busy,,,it's a very short distance away too,,,,hummm think about that. Also the "pickle ball " courts at the park..who are those three people that that use all that money... ohh I mean pickle ball courts ? I have never seen more than two cars there except when the first one opened ,,,why spend the city's money on that waste?? There is way more important things that are needed in this city,,,like streetlights in the"ghettos" likeruverview to ramar lakeside to riverfront,,I don't see spending on things that will be used by a few,,and not by many ,but the many would like a little safer environment to come out at night under the street lights or maybe some fire hydrants? Or some new paving on the streets NOT painting them which doesn't last long at all painting just hides the pavement problems.Time for the city to think about the residents,not what the rich dreamers want.

Mitch

Why should bullhead pay for another bridge? Do we really need one? The bridge on hey 40 is only two lanes each way and it handles the traffic just fine,and it is traffic from all over.right now there is a bridge by the avi and one in Laughlin (which Mr . Laughlin paid for himself ) why can't the other casinos help pay for a new bridge .There is seven other major casinos that are reaping the benefits of the easy access to them.Mr.Laughlin and the Riverside have generously donated , now it's time for the others to help.Not the city of bullhead to pay.The city of Bullhead has many better uses for the tax money to be spent on.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.