Gila Valley residents may get some relief from long DMV wait times thanks to a new third-party location.

Jan Kortsen, who owns two Department of Motor Vehicle offices, is opening a new DMV office at 2586 Highway 70 in Thatcher Oct. 12.

Doug Pacey, an Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman, said the number of people the Safford MVD office is able to accommodate has fallen significantly over the last several months.

“The Safford MVD Office is currently seeing about 100-120 people per day. Before switching to an appointment-only system because of COVID-19 public health guidelines, the office was seeing about 150-170 people per day,” Pacey said.

Kortsen said people from Graham County, Tucson, and Phoenix are visiting her third party DMV in Willcox. She’s seen a 300 percent increase in customers, she said.

“We’ve seen in an increase because of how the state DMV is working due to COVID. That has pushed a lot of people to our doors. The state also is encouraging the use of a portal, and our goal is to provide a friendly and helpful face,” Kortsen said.

So far Kortsen has hired three people from Graham County to work at her new facility, she said.

To adhere to the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, Kortsen said her business will have plastic partitions between the document processors and the customers. Also, there will be limited seating in the lobby, which will be frequently sanitized.

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