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Arizona Department of Transportation now plans to remove fewer than six trees with a trunk diameter of greater than 18 inches after meeting with local groups set on saving trees along Hwy. 179.

By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers

Arizona Department of Transportation now plans to remove fewer than six trees with a trunk diameter of greater than 18 inches after meeting with local groups set on saving trees along Hwy. 179.

In August, ADOT said less than ten trees of that size would be cut down between the ‘Y’ intersection and Oak Creek Bridge to accommodate Phase 2 of the Hwy. 179 Improvement Project.

“Right now we’re really focused on saving those trees,” Kristin Darr-Bornstein said. Darr-Bornstein is a  public outreach manager hired by ADOT to work on the project.

On Friday, Sept. 7, ADOT met with local groups, including the Sedona-Verde Valley Group of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club, to talk about trees.

“They are trying to be accommodating,” Sedona-Verde Valley Group Vice Chair Marlene Rayner said. But, the group still has concerns.

“There are a bunch of unresolved things and I’m not sure what’s going to happen,” Rayner said.

Rayner still has two concerns following Friday’s meeting. She doesn’t understand why the new bridge can’t be built where the old bridge is now and thinks a more thorough environmental analysis needs to be completed.

ADOT also met with other local organizations at different times including Keep Sedona Beautiful, Save Sedona Trees, the Village Business Association and the city of Sedona.

Darr-Bornstein said ADOT is tweaking the plan to address the communities needs but not changing the design.

“We are committed to implementing what was chosen in May 2004,” Darr-Bornstein said.

After an extensive public process, Sedona residents adopted the Preferred Planning Concept for State Route 179 more than  three years ago.

The public process included more than 70 meetings with nearly 7,000 participants over a three-year period.

Since public concern regarding tree removal between the ‘Y’ and Oak Creek Bridge, ADOT has re-evaluated plans for the area.

Changes include:

n Relocation of a storm drain to the center of the road rather than in front of Tlaquepaque.

n Temporary stabilization of the western Oak Creek bank during construction to protect trees.

n Creating a meandering sidewalk on the north side of Hwy. 179 to save large sycamores.

“We’re going above and beyond to work with the community,” Darr-Bornstein said. ADOT is not obligated to meet any demands from local groups but is doing its best to be flexible.

ADOT meets with Sedona City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 11, to present plan refinements and ask for support so ADOT can stay on track. Information from the council meeting wasn’t available at press time.

“We really want to move forward with the project,” Darr-Bornstein said.



Trista Steers can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 129, or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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