Vehicle collisions, like the head-on accident Aug. 29, constantly remind us why State Route 260 should be bifurcated, or split, all the way from Cottonwood to Camp Verde.
Sadly, the highway would be split today, and last week’s accident possibly avoided, if the Arizona Department of Transportation didn’t run into roadblock after roadblock while trying to complete that project.
Sedona knows the benefits of at least splitting a highway, even if it remains only one lane in each direction.
State Route 89A from Sedona to Cottonwood and State Route 179 used to very similar to State Route 260. Since ADOT bifurcated them, head-on collisions aren’t an issue, taking one more risk out of the equation.
ADOT bifurcated State Route 260 from Prairie Lane in Cottonwood nearly to Thousand Trails Road, but then stopped because consensus couldn’t be reached in Camp Verde on how to go about construction from that point toward Interstate 17.
There is no question whether a split, four-lane highway is safer than a two-lane roadway packed with traffic traveling 55 to 65 miles per hour.
While the completed project included the addition of passing lanes in sections through Camp Verde, impatient drivers still pass when they shouldn’t and distracted drivers still cross the yellow line.
Since construction crews completed splitting a portion of State Route 260, far fewer accidents have happened on the bifurcated section.
There are two lanes in both directions allowing for easy passing and no threat of oncoming traffic traveling in the wrong lane.
State Route 260 services a high volume of traffic from residents and visitors.
Many people in the Verde Valley commute daily to neighboring communities for work and when attending events, shopping in stores, and visiting friends and family.
The route via Cottonwood to Sedona gives residents another option of accessing Interstate 17 or Camp Verde, depending on traffic on State Route 179.
The Camp Verde Town Council plans to push for cooperation between all parties so eventually a proposal can be presented to ADOT asking it to come back and do something it already tried to do.
The questions now will be whether other area municipalities will forgive Camp Verde for blocking it the first time and what priority ADOT would give the project when it means going back to where it just spent money.
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