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Sun, Oct. 20

PV, ADOT look to improve Hwy. 69

PRESCOTT VALLEY – The Town of Prescott Valley and the Arizona Department of Transportation are drafting proposals to improve deadly Highway 69.

Tom Foster, ADOT's Prescott District engineer, said the groups are asking for money to widen and add a raised median to the section of highway between Diamond Valley and the area east of Prescott Valley Highway.

"As far as enhancements, that might include a center-raised median island and additional lanes," Foster said. "And we've also been looking at accidents to see if there might be some funding available through hazard elimination funding."

He said the raised median is not to be confused with the concrete barriers seen dividing Phoenix freeways. This is not being considered because a tall concrete median would hurt drivers' ability to turn left onto the highway, Foster said.

Larry Tarkowski, Prescott Valley's interim town manager, said the town wants to create a safer highway that could support a greater traffic flow. The Town Council will study this during its July 29 work session, he said.

"All of our council is aware of the concern out there for traffic safety," Tarkowski said. Council members are aware of concerned Victorian Estates residents, he said. Tarkowski said the Prescott Valley Police Department and ADOT are trying to increase the area's signage.

"So with all of these combined efforts the intent is to make that stretch of road significantly safer," he said.

Jennifer Miller, public information officer for the PVPD, said five accidents have occurred in the area since Jan. 1, resulting in seven injuries and two deaths.

One hundred and thirteen injuries and four deaths occurred in the Town of Prescott Valley since the beginning of 2004, Miller said.

Brian Marston, Department of Public Safety public information officer, said four people died in accidents near Yavapai Hills and Victorian Estates since Jan. 1. Both accidents occurred on Highway 69.

Foster said the priority of the area's improvement requests is high among the department's five-year plan.

"The preliminary indication that 69 to 89 to Junction 169 is very high, if not number one in the state," he said.

Two deaths resulted from accidents on Highway 169 since the start of 2004, Marston said.

Foster said talks with Prescott Valley focused on the town's western limits because traffic has increased as housing developments have grown along the highway.

"That segment has a lot of traffic, a lot of congestion for side streets," Foster said.

The consultation company for ADOT and the town, Dava and Associates, will draft the financing requests, he said.

Contact the reporter at jkamin@prescottaz.com

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