TRUSTED NEWS LEADER FOR COTTONWOOD, CAMP VERDE & THE VERDE VALLEY
Mon, July 22

Which way for Verde Connect?
You can give your opinion this week in Cottonwood, Camp Verde meetings

One of the seven routes of the Verde Connect would start at Coury Drive on SR 260 in Camp Verde where Jones Ford is located. The photo is looking toward Cornville from the roundabout in Camp Verde. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

One of the seven routes of the Verde Connect would start at Coury Drive on SR 260 in Camp Verde where Jones Ford is located. The photo is looking toward Cornville from the roundabout in Camp Verde. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

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Supervisor Randy Garrison: For 20 years (it) has been described as a necessary addition to the public regional road system ... It’s another route for people to take and spread the traffic around the region.”

Yavapai County Supervisor Randy Garrison said people should take a look at the intersection of SR260 and SR89A in Cottonwood where Starbucks is being built if they are looking for a reason to build the Verde Connect.

“That’s already a failed intersection,” Garrison said.

He offered another example.

“You see it now in Sedona at the Y,. Everything dies at the Y.”

 “One thing to keep in mind,” Garrison said, “we’re not necessarily building these for today.”

Garrison is gearing up for this week’s public meetings on the Verde Connect county road project.

June 11 in Cottonwood, then again on June 12 in Camp Verde, Yavapai County officials will hold meetings and seek public feedback on seven possible routes for Verde Connect.

The seven options were chosen after public input and part of a $1.3 million contracted study, Garrison said.

Garrison said a Yavapai County study arrived at several “achievable routes” for the proposed Verde Connect connector roadway and bridge between State Route 260 and Beaverhead Flat Road at its intersection with Cornville Road.

The project would be funded – in part – by a $25 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grant for a new bridge over the Verde River.

Of the seven options, two are not recommended by the county. “They (the routes) are still just proposals at this point,” Garrison said Thursday. “All the routes are about six and half miles total and about the same length, but the river is wider at different points, so that will change the costs of each route.”

Garrison said he did have his own personal preference for a route, but did not want to influence other people’s opinions during this process. Some routes have different benefits such as river span, population in the area and land ownership, he said. Some would be easier to purchase easements for, he said.

The supervisor said the project falls within both the Coconino and Prescott National Forests.

One of the recommended routes would start at the Thousand Trails roundabout closest to Cottonwood and connect with Beaverhead Flat Road. A smaller, still-unnamed road, would connect to the Middle Verde Road from Verde Connect.

 Two of the other recommended routes begin at Old Highway 279. They also connect at Beaverhead Flat Road and will also have a road connecting to Middle Verde Road.

 Garrison said the routes starting at Thousand Trails and Old Highway 279 run through the most populated areas and impact the most private land. The Thousand Trails route would pass by an RV resort and wine tasting center. The routes utilizing Old Highway 279 are closest to populated private property

The Old Highway 279 options would require a new roundabout in addition to the seven that have already been put in on SR260 between Cottonwood and Camp Verde.

 Two other recommended routes begin at Coury Drive on SR 260 in Camp Verde and go to Beaverhead Flat Road in Cornville and also has a side route to the Middle Verde Road. Garrison said the Coury Drive routes go through the least populated areas. “No residential land” on this route, Garrison said. It would be state trust and forest service land.

The supervisor said it was an ADOT study that looked a projected populated growth the next 20 years what needs to be done today for future needs.

With whatever route Verde Connect would take, “for 20 years (it) has been described as a necessary addition to the public regional road system,” Garrison said. “At the end of the day, people are going to take the less congestion. It’s another route for people to take and spread the traffic around the region.”

Garrison said the county has spent $1.4 million during the study.

The rest of the funding to build the Verde Connect Road would come through partnerships or county funding, he said.

Once a route is picked, a study will be done to determine the costs, impacts and funding alternatives.

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