Sat, April 04

Editorial: Councils can reach consensus on 260

Consensus in the Verde Valley is possible. Nice to know.

The movement on the future of State Route 260 may have happened quietly at a little-advertised meeting of the Verde Valley Transportation Planning Organization last week, but there were shockwaves attached all the same.

Local government representatives agreed - yes agreed unanimously - to push for one access point per mile along Camp Verde's 8-mile stretch of 260 when and if it fully becomes a four-lane highway. Sounds simple, but it has been a hair-raising experience watching political entities battle over this.

The VVTPO recommendation is a major victory for compromise and harmony, no matter what happens down the road.

Three years ago, Camp Verde came to a stalemate with the other municipalities over how many access points should be allowed on this end of 260 during the planned widening. The other communities wanted to allow Camp Verde very few access points (for safety and traffic flow). Camp Verde wanted more access points (for access to businesses and properties). The disagreement frustrated the Arizona Department of Transportation and Yavapai County.

In the meantime, ADOT has been doing what it can to alleviate the ongoing traffic flow and safety issues that have only increased over the years. It completed four lanes from Western Drive to Thousand Trails. It commenced work on a lane addition and other improvements on the rest of the highly traveled roadway.

Clearly, ADOT has continued to be concerned by 260.

It had become easy to doubt, however, that the Verde Valley elected officials had their priorities straight.

Now the VVTPO has offered an example of unification. And the group is neatly putting the ball in the court of the municipalities to follow suit. Knowing the political possibilities, VVTPO is keeping a backup plan for an alternate route if the councils still can't get it together.

But the councils can get it together. There can be even more widespread consensus on one of the most important issues for motorists in the Verde Valley. That is nice to know.

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