Letter: There must be better solutions than route on Verde Valley School Road
I am writing as a very concerned homeowner along the Verde Valley School Road corridor in the Village of Oak Creek. My wife and I moved to VOC due to its small-town atmosphere, close proximity of needed commercial enterprises and lack of vehicle congestion. The plan to divert Sedona-bound traffic from SR179 through VOC, by way of VVSR and Red Rock Crossing, is extremely ill-conceived.
If this plan comes to fruition, those of us along the VVSR corridor will experience a decrease in property values (I comment as an ex-residential real estate appraiser), a dramatic increase in traffic and reduction of our present, tranquil lifestyle.
I was a member of the SR179 committee during the entire construction planning process and can attest to the fact that a traffic diversion through VOC to the Crossing will be extremely expensive, disruptive and time consuming. For obvious safety reasons this bypass would have to be constructed similar to SR179, through VOC, with side walks, curbs, gutters, underground drainage, round-a-bouts and lighting. West of VOC would require nearly total re-alignment, proper drainage and road base, as well as the cost of an appropriate bridge across Oak Creek. Much of this section would be traversing US Forest Service property, which would open another huge can of worms regarding access, design, purchase/trade, implementation of several federal studies, etc.
If memory serves me well, the total cost of SR 179 was in the neighborhood of $70 million and the reality is that this diversion could be at a similar level. In the very near future much of the traffic from US Hwy I 17, to Sedona, will be served via the completion of SR260 through Cottonwood, along with proper signage at the freeway traffic intersection. The City of Sedona has a number of traffic solutions that could be quite viable, one of which is a bypass around downtown Sedona off of Schnebly Hill Road.
I would rather see other alternatives implemented before serious consideration is given to a VVSR diversion, which has many serious drawbacks, one of which would be the irreversible destruction of riparian terrain at Red Rock Crossing .
Tyrone W. Rock
Village of Oak Creek