Mon, April 06

Letter: We must stand firm against Verde Connect project


Yavapai County is about to wrap up the Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) for their Verde Connect project.

The project includes an approximately 65-foot-wide (allowing 4-lanes) bridge, over 900 feet long across the Verde River, which will then connect to a new, 9-plus-mile highway North through the Coconino National Forest Chalk Hills to Beaverhead Flat Road, along with a 1-plus-mile connector to formerly dead-end Middle Verde Roadd. The DEA will include, among other reports, the project’s biological effects, traffic estimates, noise measurements, hazardous materials and archaeological/cultural assessments.

Several neighborhood groups, including verdeDISconnect, Save the Middle Verde and the Verde Valley No-Build Alliance, have been opposing this project since September of 2018.

The Town of Camp Verde has unanimously voted for the No-Build alternative, backed by the Beaver Creek Community Association and Jerome, also unanimously.

The Yavapai Apache Nation has prohibited the road project from involving their tribal land. The County has refused to allow opposition groups, consisting of residents and landowners along Middle Verde Road, to be “stakeholders” in the project, which would have allowed access to the ongoing DEA.

The county has disregarded the neighborhood and local communities and is rapidly moving ahead with the project. When the DEA is released, the public will have only 30 days to respond.

Please check the website, where you can learn more about the project challenge, sign a petition, donate and join opposition efforts.

Also check the County’s Verde Connect website, where you can see learn more about the project, including how it fails to provide hoped for traffic relief.

Verde Connect is a poorly conceived project:

• The county’s own traffic studies show that this project will not affect the serious traffic issues we face in Yavapai County through 2045, even though it will cost between $50-$100 million dollars to build, using up County transportation funds and making more important road projects impossible for the foreseeable future.

• The county is brazenly disregarding the Town of Camp Verde’s General Plan for the Middle Verde Road Character Area, which consists of over 600 acres of irrigated farm and ranch land protecting the Verde River.

• The county believes the project will add 4,500 cars/day to Middle Verde Road current capacity of 600 cars/day. The county has no plans for addressing Middle Verde Road safety by adding shoulders or turn lanes, considering drainage or adding signage or providing traffic calming for dangerous curves and blind driveways.

• The low-density farm and ranch land along the Middle Verde Road provide a needed buffer to the Verde River, while the proposed project bridge site will alter some of the most sensitive riparian habitat in the state – just downstream from the beautiful confluence of Oak Creek and the Verde River.

It is time for all Yavapai county residents and anyone who cares about our river, our farmers, our ranchers, the autonomy of our communities and responsible county government to stand up against this project.

Diane Scantlebury

Middle Verde

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