Gila Box

The BLM is launching a road improvement project in the Gila Box Riparian Area.

SAFFORD — Visitors to the scenic Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area (NCA) will soon enjoy better access, thanks to a BLM road improvement project.

“The NCA is popular for a myriad of recreational activities, is known for its four perennial waterways and towering cliffs and is a major source of water for the Safford community,” the BLM said in a news release.

The project will improve a low water crossing with a history of post-monsoon flooding and erosion, replacing the existing dirt and gravel with a concrete crossing. The new crossing will be 20 feet wide and 160 to 180 feet in length.

“Erosion caused by flooding at the crossing during heavy rain events has been a long-standing issue,” said Safford Field Manager Scott Cooke. “Once complete, the work will prevent future erosion so that visitors can more easily access the NCA and City of Safford employees can access water facilities in need of repair following monsoon events.”

Work will start as early as Aug. 20 and continue into September. During the project, public access will be rerouted around the work area. Signs will be posted “a couple of miles” ahead of the work area, and visitor safety will be maintained by a certified traffic control supervisor. Visitors should expect the possibility of short delays.

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