Coconino County Public Works is partnering with the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office to help mitigate a traffic nightmare in Bellemont. There was a major traffic backup at the Bellemont exit leading to the Pilot Travel Center, backing up vehicles for around two hours Thursday. County officials say the backup was caused by the 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 nearly completed. Officials say 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 didn’t manage the traffic within the travel center 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 backup sent trucks into nearby neighborhoods. County officials will continue to hold Pilot fully accountable, both financially and logistically, for doing whatever is necessary to prevent Thursday’s traffic issues from happening again. Signs and traffic control are being deployed to help smooth the issue.

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