City News

The city of Sedona’s transportation master plan is now in the home stretch as possible alternatives to reduce traffic are being narrowed down.

The Sedona City Council has already received some options at previous meetings including those for the Uptown area and Red Rock Crossing. During its April 12 meeting the focus was on State Route 179 as it enters Sedona. The $250,000 traffic study’s draft plan and public outreach will be in June with a final plan presented to council in July.

“The goal of this master plan is to come out of this with a number of improvements that could be undertaken over many years and across the spectrum of the various types of transportation improvements,” City Manager Justin Clifton said.

Clifton stressed that any ideas are conceptual at this point and that the city has not reached out to stakeholders. Instead, staff and the traffic consultants want to give the council as many options as possible. But with any major projects, he said there will be give and take.

“To pull this off, something will have to give,” he said. “I want to be clear about that. We have not prioritized these things because we’re really not at that point, yet. What we’re trying to demonstrate is, what kind of relief to congestion could we get and at what financial cost. We want to identify these challenges so that our eyes are open.”

The following options were discussed by council. Travel times are based upon peak congestion periods of 36 minutes compared to off-peak times of 12 minutes:

Schnebly Hill Road Roundabout

  • Construct a second approach lane on northbound SR 179 and southbound SR 179 approaches [two lanes on each approach].
  • Add a second roundabout circulator lane [two circulator lanes total].
  • Widen SR 179 to two lanes in each direction [four total lanes] from Highland to Ranger Road.
  • Will reduce congested conditions travel time from Bell Rock Boulevard to ‘Y’ from 36 minutes to 28 minutes.
  • Design and construction cost $5.4 million.

‘Y’ Bypass Slip Lanes

  • Construct a northbound SR 179 to northbound SR 89A bypass lane.
  • Construct an eastbound/northbound SR 89A to southbound SR 179 bypass lane.
  • Will reduce congested conditions travel time from Bell Rock Boulevard to ‘Y’ from 36 minutes to 30 minutes.
  • Design and construction cost $1.4 million.

Schnebly Hill Road Improvements, ‘Y’ Slip Lanes, Pedestrian Crossing, State Route 179 Widening Project Elements

  • ‘Y’ Roundabout improvements.
  • Schnebly Hill Road roundabout improvements.
  • Two continuous lanes in each direction between Highland Road and ‘Y.’
  • Pedestrian underpass or overpass at Tlaquepaque [location and configuration to be determined].
  • Will reduce congested conditions travel time from Bell Rock Boulevard to ‘Y’ from 36 minutes to 24 minutes.
  • Design and construction cost $8.9 million which includes pedestrian crossing budget of $2 million.

Tlaquepaque Access Improvements

  • Improve access to Ranger Road and Brewer Road.
  • Connect Portal Lane to Tlaquepaque parking lot and to Brewer/Ranger roads.
  • Assume will divert 40 percent of vehicles making U-turns from Schnebly Hill Road roundabout, reducing travel time from Bell Rock Boulevard to ‘Y’ from 36 minutes to 33 minutes.
  • Design and construction cost $500,000.

Forest Road Connector

  • Extend Forest Road to connect to SR 89A, which would require roadway cut/fill, and segments of retaining wall.
  • Left-turn in eastbound on SR 89A, and right-turn in/right-turn out access would be provided at Forest/SR 89A connection.
  • Will provide an alternative connection for Uptown residents.
  • Design and construction cost $1.3 million.

It was stated that the first phase of any work to be done would likely take place in the Uptown area not only because it’s a major traffic issue but the fact the city owns that right-of-way. But with any project, funding is always an issue.

“The question we want to ask our community is, ‘Are these things worth paying for?’” Clifton said. “Even if we could come up with the money on our own, I think that question is important. Because at the end of the day, it’s really easy for any of us to spend someone else’s money. But if we want to know how valuable these things are, there’s nothing better than asking.”

Councilman John Currivan asked if staff had looked into possible state or federal funding to help cover costs. Clifton said they have but added that it may not be an option.

“Our current position is, that the city ought to be prepared to fund these things by itself,” he said. “Ideally, something better would come along. But the state of transportation funding right now suggests that that would very likely be the scenario [city funding on its own]. We’ve engaged with the counties and have been told the same.”


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