Sedona AZ (October 9, 2020) – In the first of many Sedona in Motion (SIM) projects, the recent completion of the Uptown Roadway Improvements Project is already proving to reduce traffic congestion with far less delays on 89A coming out of Oak Creek Canyon.
For example, while historically over the summer months, it wasn’t unusual to see travel times from the Trout Farm to the “Y” roundabout at around 42 minutes in peak congestion, the longest delay that has been recorded this year was 22 minutes, on Sunday of Labor Day weekend. This was the only day this summer that exceeded 20 minutes. While traffic volumes were significantly down in March and April due to the pandemic, volumes have been slightly higher than 2019 since Memorial Day weekend.
The major components of the Uptown Roadway Improvements Project are:
- An additional southbound lane on 89A to increase traffic flow out of Oak Creek Canyon.
- A new connector road, Owenby Way, to directly funnel cars out of the Oak Creek Canyon to free parking without having to drive through Uptown.
- Two roundabouts, one at Jordan Road and one at Owenby Way, to facilitate turning movements.
- A median to minimize jaywalking across 89A and eliminate left turns.
Part of the reason the city chose to complete the Uptown Roadway Improvements Project first was because it ranked high in the predicted cost-benefit analysis. “The modeling completed as part of our Transportation Master Plan made it clear this project needed to be started first. We’re thrilled to have completed such a project that has this kind of positive impact for the community,” said City Engineer and Director of Public Works Andy Dickey.
Because the city places high value on the arts, the project’s median and roundabouts feature decorative steel panels, gabion baskets that mimic the rock layers in Sedona, landscaping to add to Uptown’s small-town character, and art by Reagan Word that highlights the area’s Native American culture. “It would have simplified things to just do the road improvements, but it was important to take extra steps to ensure the project fit with the character of Uptown and our artists community,” said Dickey.
In addition to all of the positive impacts of the project, the city has observed a tradeoff: there have been 89A northbound delays through Uptown but this is being monitored, and the city will begin exploring solutions to mitigate if it continues.
As laid out in the Transportation Master Plan, no one strategy will be the silver bullet to traffic congestion. Instead, each of the strategies will make an incremental impact, with the completion of all the projects collectively having a significant impact on traffic reduction. Other SIM projects expected to break ground in the next year include the Forest Road Extension, the Pedestrian Underpass at Oak Creek and various Sedona Trails & Pathways System (ST&PS) projects. For more information or progress on projects, go to www.sedonaaz.gov/sim.