SR 260 Lion Springs Improvement Project

SR 260 Lion Springs Improvement Project



Project Cost: $109 million

The Arizona Department of Transportation has initiated the final design phase of the State Route 260 Lion Springs Improvement project east of Payson.

Major elements of the project include:

  • Adding one travel lane in each direction between mileposts (MP) 256 to 260.
  • Constructing a center-turn lane between MP 256-257 and center median between MP 257-260.
  • Constructing a new frontage road for the Diamond Point subdivision.
  • Constructing three wildlife crossovers. 
  • Improving and/or installing drainage and sediment-control facilities, including culverts, pipes and ditches.
  • Removing, replacing and extending guardrail, as necessary.


This segment of SR 260, known as the Lion Springs section, was part of an ADOT study initiated in the early 1990’s to evaluate growing traffic volumes, safety considerations and overall improvements to approximately 40 miles of SR 260 between Payson and Heber-Overgaard. Final recommendations, including widening SR 260 from two to four lanes, were documented in a Location Design Concept Report (LDCR) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) with the Record of Decision signed on Jan. 31, 2000. An updated EIS was completed in September 2023 to account for any changes that occurred over the past 20 years and to ensure the design plan conforms to current federal regulations. 

The Lion Springs Section is the last of the six projects between Payson and the Mogollon Rim to be completed.

The planned improvements will tie into the already widened sections of SR 260 east and west of the project.

Need for the project

The Lion Springs segment of SR 260 is the only remaining two-lane highway section between Payson and the Mogollon Rim. Because of the capacity limitations, this 4-mile segment creates a traffic bottleneck during periods of heavy volumes, especially on summer weekends and holidays, resulting in traffic congestion. Completing the Lion Springs segment will help relieve delays for local and regional travelers by providing four travel lanes between Payson and the Mogollon Rim.

Design and Construction Timeline

The project is currently in the final design phase. Final design is scheduled to be completed in summer 2025. Funding to construct the project is planned to become available in July 2025. Construction will likely begin in spring 2026, although the construction schedule has not been finalized. Once work does start, the anticipated construction duration will be about three and one-half years, when factoring in anticipated annual winter shutdown periods.

Project Area Map

Map SR 260 Lion Springs Improvement Project

Stay Informed:

  • By emailSubscribe to receive traffic alerts and project updates directly to your email.
  • Phone: ADOT Project Information Line: 855.712.8530
  • Teléfono: Línea de Información del Proyecto ADOT: 855.712.8530
  • Online: Submit a question or comment through the ADOT website by visiting and then select “Projects” from the dropdown menu.