Letter: There will never be a bridge at Red Rock Crossing
I just got through reading another letter from a probably newbie who thinks the best solution to our traffic problems is to rebuild the bridge across Oak Creek at Red Rock Crossing.
The latest is from Allan Fairchild. These suggestions usually from newbies occur every few years and a lack of local knowledge. First, there never was a “bridge”, but an old ford built across the roadway by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and washed out by a flood in 1978. We moved here in 1983 and the last serious proposal to build this bridge was shot down in 1995. Sacrificing much-loved Sedona scenery and atmosphere, bit by bit, to satisfy greed, glut or convenience is a dumb idea.
Nobody wants to see the already heavily trafficked Verde Valley School Road turned into a freeway. As it is now, many homeowners sometimes have long waits just backing out of their own driveways. 10.000 cars per day more will only create another traffic nightmare. The extra heavy traffic is unsafe and unwanted. Some have made the argument in the past that it would help police and fire under emergency circumstances, but that claim is bogus. There already exists a bridge across the creek that is on the old HI-Ho Ranch which is now closed. Police and fire have access to that bridge during such emergencies so that argument falls flat. Very few homeowners favor this proposal.
For several years in a row, Taxpayers for Common Sense in Washington, D.C., named a bridge at Red Rock Crossing one of the 22 most wasteful road projects proposed in the country. Finally in 1999, the Verde Valley Regional Transportation Study Update, prepared by Lima & Associates for Yavapai County, examined and assessed the environmental impact of a Red Rock Crossing route. Yavapai County’s “No, we aren’t obliged to replace a washed-out low-water crossing” has been upheld by the courts. The Superior Court judge in Maricopa County said “No.” Three Appellate Court judges unanimously said “No.” Appealing this case to the Arizona Supreme Court, who would say “No” to even hearing it, seems equivalent to beating a dead horse.
Petitions circulated by the Sierra Club spoke in eloquent protest against a Red Rock Crossing bridge with 10,541 signatures submitted to the U.S. Forest Service. The road would have to be widened to 4 lanes, we would lose our DARK SKY designation as the west end of the road is very curvy, dark, and would be dangerous without lighting. There is ALREADY a practical alternate route that is very simple, and has been proposed many times before but Sedona’s wealthy homeowners don’t want it. Take #179 to Back o’Beyond, then down to either Shelby or Shasta. It is much faster than any RR Crossing would be. Sorry, Allan, but this route is the “most logical and effective solution”. Just tell it to Sedona and Mr. Garrison.
The homeownwers at VOCA are happy. It’s the Sedona business community that wants to force an alternate route and enormous costs and inconveniences on our town (not a part of Sedona) and county. Your idea is decades old and has been shot down every time. Read my lips: There will never be a bridge at Red Rock Crossing. The residents won’t allow it. Tourists worldwide won’t allow it due to its proximity to Cathedral Rocks, a famous vortex. I support your good faith efforts if they are directed up #179 where they belong.
Gary Mialocq, Ph.D.
Village of Oak Creek