Tue, June 25

Don't allow 260 to be two-lane death trap

Camp Verde needs your help to make Arizona 260 safe. Highway 260 needs to be a four-lane commercial road with a middle turn lane. Not a two-lane death trap. Property owners on both sides need access, not functional obsolescence.

ADOT's failure to grant access has land-locked these properties and is hurting Camp Verde’s ability to compete for sales tax dollars with neighboring communities. The stretch of 260 inside of Camp Verde and designated on it general plan as a commercial corridor runs from I-17 to Steve Coury. ADOT is refusing to grant property owners access to 260 and further refusing to improve the road at all unless Camp Verde accepts restricted access. This is unconscionable and Valley residents are paying with their lives for this unreasonable position.

ADOT publishes traffic counts on line at The count on Camp Verde’s section of 260 is 16,400 cars per day. This is a stretch of highway that needs four lanes plus a middle turn lane.

Camp Verde needs the exact lane configuration that Cottonwood has on 260 between Western Drive and 89A. This section of the highway has 9,000 additional cars per day, that’s over 24,000.

Camp Verde needs the exact lane configuration that Cottonwood has on Main Street from 89A to 260. This traffic count is 36,000 cars per day; Camp Verde needs the exact configuration that Sedona has on 89A from 179 to Coffee Pot Road. This traffic count is 30,000 cars per day; Camp Verde needs the same configuration as Payson has on SR87 from the 260/87 to Main Street; this traffic count is over 31,600 cars per day. These highways have traffic lights, middle turn lanes and serve both through and local traffic on the same road. Four lanes plus a middle turn lane. It is pretty simple and not that costly.

Traffic lights at Horseshoe Bend, Old Hwy 279 and Steve Coury would create intervals for traffic to enter and cross the highway safely. The speed limit needs to be slowed to 35 miles per hour and enforced. Diving 35 miles per hour over this seven-mile stretch would take an additional three minutes over driving 55.

ADOT claims that improving 260 would be too costly. This is not true. The exorbitant cost estimates are created by ADOT’s insistence at restricting access. If 260 is a freeway through Camp Verde, off ramps and frontage roads would be required to reach all the properties that become functionally obsolete through denied access along the right of way. Adding three additional lanes without restricting access would require no additional land purchases and can be completed with funds already allocated by the county today.

This is a big challenge to Camp Verde’s new mayor. If he truly wants to increase commerce as he has claimed in his mayoral race, he needs to support the landowner’s desire for access. On the other hand, if his true sentiments lie in limiting progress, he will most likely support ADOT's access management plan, which is a perfect bulldozer for economic opportunity in Camp Verde.

Letters from Camp Verde citizens to the following can help. Victor Mendez Arizona Department of Transportation 206 S 17th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85007, Senator Ken Bennett Arizona State Senate, Senate Building, Phoenix, AZ 85007. Faxing copies of these letters to Will Wright Community Development Director at 928-567-7401 will help track the support for the highway improvement and God willing get this project moving.

In your letters let ADOT know that the lives of your family and friends should not be bargained with. In addition, mention that unless ADOT is planning to build a freeway down the middle of Cottonwood, Sedona and Payson, Camp Verde should not have one forced upon it either.

Rob Witt is a resident of Camp Verde.