Tonto Creek Bridge to open years after 3 children were swept away by floodwaters

A bridge that crosses Tonto Creek is set to open later this month, nearly five years after three children died while being swept away by floodwaters in the area.

The $21-million bridge project began in 2022. Two-way traffic will start using the Tonto Creek Bridge in late May, Gila County officials said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for June 22.

In November 2019, siblings Willa Rawlings, 6, and Colby Rawlings, 5, and their cousin Austin Rawlings, 5, died while trying to cross the creek about 75 miles northeast of Phoenix. Willa and Colby’s parents, Daniel and Lacey Rawlings, and four other children were rescued.

Daniel and Lacey Rawlings pleaded guilty to several charges. Both were sentenced to probation as part of a plea deal.

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Tonto Creek Bridge (Gila County)

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.