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Tlaquepaque Village

Mother Nature saved Sedona the headache of construction over the holidays.

Storms rolled in last week and continue to make an appearance this week putting a halt to two road construction projects on State Route 89A, Sedona’s one and only thoroughfare.

At times it appears construction is never-ending in Red Rock Country.

Since I’ve lived here there has been at least one roadway torn up, causing traffic delays, annoyed motorists and angry business owners.

While the result is often easier on the eyes, functionality isn’t always addressed, and delays anger residents and visitors alike.

The Uptown Enhancement Project was in full swing when I moved here with sidewalks and the road torn up from near the canyon mouth to beyond Forest Road.

Aesthetically, the Uptown project is no doubt an improvement. Functionally, however, traffic still backs up into Oak Creek Canyon, unrestricted pedestrian traffic disrupts vehicle flow, and lack of parking is still a complaint.

No sooner was the Uptown project complete that work began on the State Route 179 Enhancement Project.

First, the Village of Oak Creek saw sidewalks poured, torn out and poured again. Then work began in the U.S. National Forest between the Village and Sedona where crews carefully transplanted trees and shrubs to be saved for replanting after they built a new lane through the forest.

Then, after construction terrorized residents and tourists simply trying to get to Sedona, it moved on to the businesses. Gallery Row along State Route 179 nearing the intersection with State Route 89A endured months of restricted turning lanes, closed sidewalks and noise.

The roadway is now pedestrian-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. However, the redesign of the single-lane highway didn’t improve traffic flow, and cars still move at a snail’s pace from the Village to Sedona when tourist volume is high.

Next on the horizon is a long list of improvements to State Route 89A in West Sedona and just outside the city limits.

Originally, residents, visitors and business owners were faced with two sections of lane closures planned for the holidays.

The Arizona Department of Transportation intends to construct some sort of third lane for motorists turning out of Sedona Shadows allowing them to get up to speed before entering traffic. I’m still not sure exactly how this will work.

The city’s giant hole on State Route 89A near Inspiration Drive remains while ADOT conveniently sat on a permit to allow the city to also close one lane of traffic in each direction. Arguments between the contractor and the city also may have contributed to the monthlong standstill seen at the site.

Thanks to a little winter weather, those projects were further delayed. Now both are slated to restart in early January.

And don’t forget the resurfacing of the West Sedona corridor and installation of streetlights scheduled for the spring.

Construction, improvements and routine maintenance are a given, especially in areas with high traffic volume, such as Sedona.

However, for some reason, delays, setbacks, quarrels and shortcomings always arise when it comes construction in the red rocks. Maybe it’s the vortices.


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