FLAGSTAFF-Rehabilitation of the Wupatki-Sunset Crater Volcano Scenic Loop Road, also known as Forest Road 545, was scheduled to begin in early March. The Scenic Loop Road is the primary access route for both Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and Wupatki National Monument, including the Visitor Centers for both parks, as well as the many beautiful and well-preserved pueblos of Wupatki. Also planned in the project is the rehabilitation and improvement of the visitor parking area at the Wupatki Visitor Center, creating improved parking stalls and a wider turnaround for tour busses and other larger vehicles.
The project will rehabilitate approximately 22 miles of deteriorated and worn road surface, extending from Wupatki National Monument's north entrance off Highway 89, continuing through the entire park, and ending at the Coconino National Forest boundary, about five miles south of Wupatki's south entrance. The road surface will be pulverized, scraped clean and resurfaced with new road base and asphalt. Work is scheduled to be completed by mid-to-late summer.
The project is being funded and administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) and the USDA Forest Service. The NPS and FHA are committed to maintaining "shared-use" of the road during the project. As a result, both parks and the Scenic Loop Road will be open during construction, with a maximum of 30 minutes delay for a trip around the entire loop. No construction activities are currently planned on Fridays, Saturdaysß or Sundays, allowing minimal disruption for weekend visitors for the duration of the project.
"We're excited to see this much-needed project getting underway", commented Superintendent Palma Wilson. "The new and improved road will allow a safer and more enjoyable experience for visitors driving the Scenic Loop, while providing enhanced protection of resources with improved turnouts, parking areas, and road shoulders."
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