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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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11/9/2013 5:28:00 PM
County discusses SR 260 widening

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter


BRIDGEPORT -- There were a lot of ideas from a small group of property owners on how to complete the widening of SR 260, when Yavapai Supervisor Chip Davis brought his regular community meeting to Bridgeport Thursday.

The plan is to get agreement on the four-lane completion of the highway between Thousand Trails and Interstate 17. Like other Verde cities and towns and the Yavapai-Apache Nation, the county government hopes to educate constituents on the requirements for an agreement to use $66 million the State Road Board budgeted for upgrade.

The proposal was presented to a similar meeting in the Village of Oak Creek Wednesday night.

County Assistant Development Services Director Mike Willett explained that "the Verde must raise consensus on conditions before the end of the year or ADOT will take the money back. ADOT is trying to fast-track the project. We are trying to get feedback."

That agreement includes seven conditions. A primary condition would limit the number of highway access points to only seven, a condition which upended earlier road planning through the Camp Verde area. The access points would be limited to Thousand Trails Road, Coury Drive, Cherry Creek Road, Horseshoe Bend Road and Wilshire Drive, plus two undefined points at approximate mileposts 214 and 215.

Other stipulations include:

• SR 260 will have a rural divided highway cross-section from Thousand Trails Road to Horseshoe Bend road;

• A fringe, urban cross-section will be added from Horseshoe Bend Road to Wilshire Drive;

• One westbound and one eastbound left-in only access point will be permitted between Horseshoe Bend Road and Wilshire Drive;

• Right-in/Right-out access will be limited to quarter-mile minimum spacing;

• SR 260 intersections will be designed to maintain a level of service B on main line (SR 260) for a minimum of 20 years. Large developments may be required to do minor intersection improvements.

Willett told the small gathering that frontage roads will need to be coordinated by local jurisdictions to serve private properties between the seven key access points.

He said Old Highway 279 will work as a frontage road. He cautioned that the junction of the frontage road with the highway cross street must be connected at a distance far enough back from the highway so that the side street will have adequate "stacking distance." He compared the frontage roads on SR 69 that Willett said were built too close to the highway to have adequate stacking.

There was discussion about the need for an adequate access into the Hayfield Draw Recreation Area. Chip Davis noted that the area attracts people with trailers carrying motorcycles and ATVs and RVs.

The access points are proposed as modified roundabouts, said Willett, but not like the tight ones found through Clarkdale. He says they will have a more open exit to allow higher speed traffic and will accommodate commercial and cement truck traffic.

Davis said there are 75 driveways along the section of SR 260. "We need to find a compromise between 75 driveways and a freeway."

Discussion of roundabouts generated concern from the group. Area resident Bob Eggert said the highway needs to have as little obstruction as possible so that it encourages economic development, "which is sorely needed. There is no benefit to spending $66 million just to "upgrade' the road again."

Another resident suggested that an entirely new road should be built through the forest land on the side of the mountain, a plan that was originally suggested 10 years ago.

Though Willett said that the roundabout concept is tentative, ADOT likes the fact that they provide a higher level of service and a better level of safety with less severe crashes. He said the highway will be built to a speed of 55 mph. The state wants to build a highway that will maintain "a Level of Service B" for a long period of time.

Davis told the group that we "need to impede traffic as little as possible, but private lands have the right to access." He said there are two issues. "The Camp Verde area wants access to enterprise, but the Upper Verde wants mobility."

Willett said Jacobs Engineering has already been hired to do the traffic engineering and flow to 30 percent of construction plans. He suggested some highway construction could start as soon as 2015.

The agreement comes before the Board of Supervisors during their 9 a.m. meeting, Monday, Nov. 18, in Cottonwood annex.



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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, November 16, 2013
Article comment by: Slater slater

Just rubber stamp it and move on to the next money maker.

Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Article comment by: What Enterprise?

What enterprise? Camp Verde is who held up the widening project years ago when they annexed the land up to the Steve Coury dealership in an attempt to land-grab and get rich from all those businesses that would surely come flooding in. I drive along that strech nearly every day and I don't recall seeing any new businesses that people are dying to get to but just can't because of the road. It's never going to be a business corridor, it's merely a commuter route and a dangerous one at that. Here's hoping that this time the needs of the majority are tended to instead of the greedy minority.

Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013
Article comment by: The Occasional One

Being in an accident on that road, a month and a half ago, that could have ended my life. I say $66 million is worth it to stop the madness on that road. Please make it 4 lanes like 89A between Cottonwood and Sedona. How many lives has that saved since being done.

Posted: Saturday, November 9, 2013
Article comment by: Slater slater

That should get the cattle to the market faster.



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