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Originally published Sunday, June 16, 2019 at 08:04a.m.

SEDONA -- The calm before the storm is over. Monday, crews began ripping up Jordan Road for the city’s Sedona in Motion.

Businesses and motorists have been anticipating this day since the city council and staff identified citizen priorities for a Transportation Master Plan.

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The Jordan Road and 89A intersection will become a roundabout. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

“The Jordan Road and 89A intersection will become a roundabout, which should really improve traffic flow in that area, given the current angled configuration of the intersection and the way it restricts vehicle movements,” explained Marty Macurak, communications manager for the City of Sedona. “A new roundabout will be built in the vicinity of La Petite Sedona Hotel, which is just north of Art Barn Road.”

“Our goal is to work as quickly as we can to minimize business impacts, while still respecting that breaks in work and quiet hours are needed by the residents of Uptown and nearby hotels,” she said, adding that they have scheduled non-work periods during busy shopping times at the request of retailers to allow easier access for customers. 

Heavy equipment rolled in Tuesday and began tearing up Jordan Road in the intersection with SR89A, but SR89A remained open to two-way traffic on Tuesday.

Tourists carefully walked along yellow tape and metal barriers as equipment rumbled in the work zone. Misting water sprayed on lunch-time diners as they seemed unfazed as the bulldozers clanked next to them.

The Sedona Chamber of Commerce wants to make sure those tourists come back this summer. The chamber has decided to advertise in Phoenix and other locations where the chamber did not advertise last year.

“We learned from last summer’s elimination of Phoenix marketing,” explained Jennifer Wesselhoff, president/CEO Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau. “We did not see a noticeable decline in traffic or tax revenues, but dozens of businesses reported a sharp drop in sales despite a good economy.

“With city and ADOT road construction looming, businesses in Uptown have made it clear that Sedona needs to be active in Phoenix this summer,” Wesselhoff explained.

She said the chamber’s $150,000 investment in Phoenix and Southern California this summer will be directed at higher-income households likely to stay multiple nights.

This phase of Sedona in Motion should take almost a year and includes a median that will divide traffic lanes along State Route 89A between Forest Road and the north end of Uptown, just past Art Barn Road. The raised median is intended to stop uncontrolled pedestrian crossings and reduce vehicle turns.

The City of Sedona also announced on May 30 that the city council has directed planning to begin for the Forest Road extension. The street will include a sidewalk and bike lane, or shared-use bike/walk pathway, it stated.

The extension of the Forest Road will allow Uptown residents to bypass the two roundabouts at Brewer/Ranger roads and the Y, and serve as an additional access/egress route for emergency responders and emergency evacuation, according to the web page. 

There was early discussion of putting pedestrian bridges across SR89A in Uptown in addition to the roundabouts, but Macurak said it won’t be part of the Sedona in Motion phase.

“Our game plan with possible pedestrian bridges is to wait and see the extent of the benefits of the current project before deciding whether to proceed with the bridges,” she said.  “We will complete this work on the Uptown roadways, then continue to gather data on traffic flow to assess whether the bridges are still needed.”

The Sedona Fire Department reports that while 89A through Uptown remains open, the area is congested with equipment. The work is scheduled for Mondays-Thursdays 5:30 am - 3:30pm and Fridays 5:30 am – 1 pm with completion of the entire project in the spring of next year.

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