Sen. Townsend and Rep. Fillmore Work to Reopen Historic Apache Trail After Three-Year Closure
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 25, 2022
Sen. Townsend and Rep. Fillmore Work to Reopen Historic Apache Trail
After Three-Year Closure
PHOENIX, ARIZONA— An effort is underway by Senator Kelly Townsend (R-16) and Representative John Fillmore (R-16) to reopen a seven-mile stretch of State Route 88, also known as the Apache Trail, to vehicle traffic after a massive wildfire forced its closure back in 2019.
The Woodbury Fire was the fifth largest wildfire in Arizona state history and burned more than 100,000 acres in the Superstition Wilderness, immediately east and uphill of SR-88. Because of concerns of deadly mudslides and flash flooding across the roadway as a result of the human-caused fire destroying the vegetation that would have prevented these dangers, the Arizona Department of Transportation indefinitely closed the roadway several miles east of Tortilla Flat to just west of the Apache Lake turnoff.
Now, an outcry from Arizona residents devastated by the closure has prompted Senator Townsend and Representative Fillmore to take action to get safety improvements established so that this roadway can be used once again.
"This has been a frustrating and lengthy closure for the businesses and outdoor enthusiasts that have enjoyed traveling the historic Apache Trail for decades," said Senator Kelly Townsend. "It's designated as a National Scenic Byway and has been recognized by the US Department of Transportation for its historical, cultural, scenic and recreational qualities. We can't just let this gem within our state deteriorate."
In the coming weeks, Sen. Townsend and Rep. Fillmore will be meeting with stakeholders, including the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Tonto National Forest, to develop a plan to rehabilitate the area with planting new vegetation to secure the soil and prevent flash flooding and mudslides from occurring. These safety measures will allow for the reopening of SR-88. Their first meeting is tentatively scheduled for early August.
"The historic Apache Trail is one of the most stunning and scenic of Arizona’s highways that I’ve traveled," said Representative John Fillmore. "It’s been closed for far too long, depriving critical access for the people of Arizona, out-of-state visitors, and our local businesses who rely on it. Action is needed to speed progress and reopen the route as soon as possible."
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications | Arizona State Senate Republican Caucus