Supervisors weigh in SR 260 project

COTTONWOOD -- Yavapai County Assistant Public Works Director Mike Willette and ADOT's Prescott District Supervisor Alvin Stump gave a presentation Monday on Arizona 260 improvements to the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors.

Willett said he wants to see a vote by the board in December to approve the intergovernmental agreement along with six other government agencies.

He said fringe urban cross sections will be added from Horseshoe Bend to Wilshire Drive that will be slightly narrower with curbs.

Old Hwy. 279 will serve as a frontage road. He said the county would like to see something similar on the south side of the highway through the private land.

"ADOT wants to maintain a service level B for up to 20 years. That is a very lofty goal, but we support and applaud that goal," Willette said.

Prescott ADOT Supervisor Alvin Stump extended that ambition. He says ADOT wants to keep the service level not just 20 years, but 30 years and beyond. The seven access points are a key part of it, as well as the right-in and right-out turns, proposed at intervals, not greater than a quarter-mile apart.

A level of "Service B is a wait no greater than 10 to 15 seconds," said Stump.

Originally it was thought that the traffic signal could remain in place at the Cherry Creek Road intersection, but Stump said the intersection needs to be converted to a roundabout.

Supervisors asked about differences in proposed roundabouts, which are said to be faster. Stump said the new roundabout design is improved over the Chino Valley roundabouts, which are improved over those in Clarkdale. He says they give more room for large trucks exiting the roundabout. They have a flatter radius allowing trucks to accelerate sooner.

"We want to make sure that this corridor flows freely, when you clog it up, you deteriorate the economic viability of the Upper Verde Valley," said Supervisor Chip Davis "We want to make sure the conversation continues about access."

Davis is concerned that there be adequate access to property along the highway, so that no one has the opportunity to sue for those rights. He was hoping for a guarantee from the ADOT Supervisor.

"Individual property owners have a right to access onto the road. We can all agree to quarter-mile intervals, but that doesn't address their rights. Camp Verde may have the opportunity to have a 'backage' road. That is an opportunity, but it is not a reality if you can't pay for it," Davis said.

He wanted to hear a guarantee, "so in the future we are not drug into court."

All seven partners would have to sign off on any changes to the access management plan, Stump advised.

Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens asked about accommodations for bicyclists if not dedicated bike lanes. She cited the MS Bike Run that attracts about 1,000 bicyclists to Cottonwood and the Verde Valley.

Stump said the highway would have eight-foot shoulders in the urban fringe and 10-foot shoulders in the rural area.

Camp Verde Council Member Carol German said this is the opportunity to get a four-lane highway so traffic will flow better. She noted, however, that traffic is now heavy and getting through Cottonwood was the most difficult.

Willett says he would like the issue to come back before the supervisors for a vote during the second meeting in Cottonwood in December.

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