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Coconino County Public Works is working with the Sheriff’s Office and deploying signage and other traffic control in Bellemont to help mitigate an issue at the Pilot Travel Center that backed up traffic for two hours yesterday.
Yesterday’s traffic snarl in Bellemont was caused by the Pilot Travel Center’s inability to reverse direction of their fuel pumps in accordance with its commitment to the County. The flip of the fuel pumps to the opposite side is necessary to accommodate Bellemont’s new roundabout, which is nearing completion.
Pilot had repeatedly committed to the County that the reversal of the fuel dispensers would be a relatively simple process taking only between 24 hours and 48 hours. After starting a day late, the company’s contractor was three days late and had still not completed the project. In addition, Pilot did not manage the traffic within the Pilot to allow for any stacking of the truck traffic until confronted by the County although the County’s contractor had previously attempted to get them to manage the truck traffic correctly.
The County will continue to hold Pilot fully accountable, both financially and logistically, for doing whatever is necessary to prevent yesterday’s traffic issues from happening again. The County has made it clear to Pilot that causing significant delays is never acceptable and that, as it was either unwilling or unable to keep its promise for a smooth transition, the County will intervene to the fullest extent possible irrespective of the impacts to its business.
Interstate traffic will be heavier due to the ongoing closure of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon, CO, and is expected to continue sending increased truck traffic along I-40 until I-70 reopens. Media reports indicate that reopening is slated for this weekend. However, this area is experiencing severe and repetitive post-wildfire flooding, which has destroyed the entire four-lane freeway closing it for 46 miles.