Verde Valley looks down the road ahead

How good are local roads and other transportation systems?

Public meetings will be held in Camp Verde, Cottonwood and Sedona this week to sample your opinion on the effectiveness of the Verde Valley road and transportation network.

The Verde Valley Transportation Planning Organization and the Arizona Department of Transportation are updating the Verde Valley's Transportation Plan.

The update, which is administered through ADOTs Planning Assistance for Rural Areas (PARA) program. Carlos Lopez of PARA says work began on the update shortly after the first of the new year and will be wrapped up by the end of 2015. The first input session will examine "needs and efficiencies." A second series of public meetings will then show what has been identified and the final analysis.

First developed in 1999, the regional transportation plan was updated in 2009. The listening sessions scheduled this week are the first steps in extending the plan another 10 years into the future.

The VVTPO and ADOT want to measure the performance of the major roads in respective jurisdictions. The planning is also to provide an implementation tool for budgeting and funding future transportation improvements.

This regional collaboration will also provide a performance measure of how the transportation system as a whole is operating in the Verde Valley.

The existing plan anticipates the needs for Verde Valley Transportation to the year 2030. That target date will be expanded and completed projects will be acknowledged.

One major item sure to be referenced is the new $60 million ADOT funding to finish building SR260 as a four-lane highway from where construction left off at Thousand Trails to reach Interstate 17.

In addition to state routes, the plan also examines local collector road projects throughout the Verde Valley such as Mingus Avenue in Cottonwood, Montezuma Castle Highway in Camp Verde, as well as transit systems, bicycle and pedestrian routes.

Give your input during one of three meetings that will be held, beginning Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Camp Verde Council Chambers, 473 S. Main St., in Camp Verde.

The Cottonwood meeting will be held Wednesday July 15, also from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Cottonwood Recreation Center.

The final meeting will be held Thursday, July 16 at the Sedona Council Chamber, 102 Roadrunner Drive in Sedona.

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