The gridlock caused one fire station responding to ask for help because due to difficulty getting through the congestion on the newly constructed single-lane highway.
Sedona Fire District Public Information Officer Gary Johnson said the gridlock was caused by motorists not pulling to the edge of the roadway to let emergency crews pass.
He said some drivers either failed to pull into bike lanes or did not leave enough room from the vehicle in front of them to maneuver.
Johnson also said the hard curbs installed during the State Route 179 project prevented a few motorists from pulling off to the side of the road.
When the State Route 179 project started a few years ago, the fire district had concerns, including the roundabouts slowing response times and not having enough room to safely pass waiting vehicles.
Johnson said because of these issues, emergency crews need to adjust accordingly.
Johnson said time will tell when the road is completed whether it will improve or negatively impact response times from emergency vehicles.
“Once it became apparent the crew was to be delayed, they reached Station No. 4 [and asked] them to respond,” he said.
He said traffic was forced to stop because the injured cyclist was lying in the middle of the road with serious injuries.
Johnson said in this instance, roadway construction in-progress was not the problem because the work at the accident location had already been finished.
Johnson said emergencies on this roadway are a little challenging.
“When you deal with construction, there are some difficulties from time to time, but that is what you expect,” he said.
He added Arizona Depart-ment of Transportation employees worked with them and have tried to be proactive during emergency responses.
ADOT State Route 179 Project Manager Carl Burkhalter said the April 27 gridlock had nothing to do with construction, adding crews shut down the road to deal with the injured cyclist.
“Anytime there is an accident, they close down the road,” Burkhalter said, mentioning emergency crews do the same thing on interstates.
He added ADOT crews do what they can to accommodate emergency crews.