Arizona trail closed for 4 years could reopen soon

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The Apache Trail has been closed for four years, which could have an impact on Arizona tourism, one of the state’s biggest revenue streams.

In 2019, a huge storm occurred that piled huge boulders onto some parts of the road and washed out others. Apache Trail advocates urged the Arizona Department of Transportation to open the road, but a quick fix would be impossible.

Now, in 2023, ADOT is looking to repair the road with one of four possible plans, but the people of Tortilla Flat are asking for help. Tortilla Flat is the oldest operating stagecoach town in Arizona. They played a key role in bringing water and electricity to Phoenix.

They want to make sure the history and heritage of the Apache Trail is made known. The Apache Trail, or State Route 88, starts roughly in Apache Junction and ends at Roosevelt Dam.

Chris Field, the Operations Director for Tortilla Flat, talked about how this highway impacts the water sources for Phoenix and emergency response, as it is part of Maricopa County emergency boundaries and the local entrepreneurs.

“ADOT is a very important agency to us in terms of access, but lack of action, lack of interest, lack of focus sometimes has its own consequences,” Field said. “The road needs work, time, and money but the road needs more of those things due to inattention, mismanaged money, and budgets weren’t used like the state intended.”

“It is a confusing moment, there is no clarity,” Field said. “They need public action and now it’s a political conversation”.

Chris Field, Operations Director for Tortilla Flat

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