Editorial -- Now we decide on the route Verde Connect will take
It’s not over ‘til it’s over, but at first glance it looks as if some of the primary concerns about the Verde Connect project have been resolved.
If ultimately approved, Verde Connect would be a new Yavapai County road that would connect Beaverhead Flat Road at its intersection with Cornville Road and eventually connecting with State Route 260 between Cottonwood and Camp Verde.
The big question now is determining exactly where on 260 this new road will connect and the route it will take to get there.
Through the early stages of this project, there was considerable protest raised from residents in the Middle Verde area that this new road would wind its way through their neighborhood. While two of the alternate routes indeed do exactly that, neither are among those being recommended by Yavapai County officials.
That doesn’t mean they are officially off the table, but they definitely have been set to the side.
That leaves five options: One involves a connection at the Thousand Trails roundabout.
Two would connect at the Coury roundabout.
Two others would utilize Old Highway 279 and, in effect, necessitate construction of another new roundabout on SR 260.
Certainly the last option will raise some eyebrows. Some will say the last thing we need is another roundabout on SR 260.
On the other hand, this area originally was among those considered for one of the new roundabouts between Thousand Trails and Interstate 17.
Some were left scratching their head when it did not make the final list.
Finally, one other alternative under consideration is to walk away from the project and do nothing.
Don’t bet on that happening.
As for the five realistic options on the table, they all should be scrutinized through the same lens that any road project is.
First, what is the Point A to Point B transportation benefit of the route?
Second, what are the future development/economic benefits of this particular route?
If those two options seem in conflict to you, it’s all a matter of the lens through which you view this project.
Some view new road projects as a ways and means of transportation.
Others see dollar signs.
The widening of State Route 260 between Cottonwood and Camp Verde is a classic case in point.
When originally proposed, many on the Cottonwood end of 260 viewed a new-and-improved 260 as a transportation corridor to quickly access I-17.
Camp Verde envisioned 260 as the town’s new economic corridor.
Those conflicting viewpoints resulted in one heck of a fight and the roundabouts along the route are a direct result of that conflict.
We’ll likely go through the same debate over the future path of Verde Connect.
But at least now we are beginning to see clarity to the paths this new road will take.