Column: Rethink unecessary road projects

Just a poignant plea for prioritization regarding a couple of road construction projects in the area:

In my humble opinion (now, I know what you’re thinking, as it may bring to mind Winston Churchill’s juicy quote regarding an adversarial colleague that “he has lots to be humble about”), my little salvo is aimed at the northern connector road linking Far North Williamson Valley Road with Chino Valley and the planned roundabout on Highway 89 South adjacent to the Phippen Museum.

Regarding the former, county officials are looking at a $320,000 study which, according to the No Northern Connector Road Organization, would involve a construction expenditure of “at least $13 million” and which, in my estimation, is simply unnecessary. After all, the existing parallel east-west Outer Loop Road serves the need nicely for residents of the sparsely populated area at the north end of W.V. Road who are able to double back to make use of the Outer Loop en route to and from Chino Valley. And the huge expenditure for a new road would be put to much better use by improving other roads and highways in the area at a much reduced cost. My suggestion would be to place some of those rubber thingies that resemble garden hoses except that they are black on W.V. Road from Outer Loop to the anticipated construction starting point to the north for verification of the lack of need. Existing unpaved links to Chino obviously aren’t exotic, but should continue to suffice for anti-Outer Loopsters.

Now for the latter roundabout project at the Phippen, which I think is also unnecessary but may already be too far along in the works to back off from: The solution there, I think, is to simply install a left-turn lane in the right lane heading toward Granite Dells and lower the speed limit by 10 or so mph in that immediate area for safety’s sake. That should serve the purpose to allow for proper access to the museum, and do it at a vastly lower construction cost.

Incidentally, I love roundabouts as a convenience when they serve their intended purpose of safety and speed moderation. Two outstanding existing ones in particular fuel my positive view. There’s the one at Highway 89 South and Willow Lake that replaced a traffic light and remedied the attendant bottleneck at that intersection, and another at the intersection of Highway 89 and Outer Loop Road on Chino Valley’s south side. For drivers needing to turn left from Outer Loop into Chino during a period of heavy traffic prior to the roundabout’s construction entailed a long, frustrating wait. But now the nightmare has evolved into a fanciful dream with no muss or fuss in traffic flow.

There’s no need for the Quad-City area to try and play “catch-up” with Sedona in the roundabout race. But when the need for one presents itself, I say go for it!

Jerry Jackson of Prescott writes a features column once a month for The Daily Courier.