County extends comment period on Verde Connect project

Yavapai County officials announced this week that the initial comment period for the Verde Connect project has been extended to March 31, 2019.

Input received during this time will be added to the hundreds of comments received since public involvement kicked off in June 2018.

“When we received the $25 million BUILD grant from the US Government for this project in December, we started immediately working on complying with federal requirements,” said Yavapai County Public Works Director Dan Cherry. “Yavapai County is proud to be partnering with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to move the project forward.”

The county must complete a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental study, in this case an Environmental Assessment (EA). This means close coordination with local, regional, state, and federal agencies such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). NEPA also requires a “scoping” period to initiate the EA process.

Scoping is the process used to determine the appropriate scope of an EA study, such as the study area and the need for the project. Public participation is an integral part of scoping.

The first scoping step is to announce to the public and government agencies that an EA will be prepared and to ask for comments about what should be included. For Verde Connect, the Public Scoping period will extend through March 31, 2019.

Input received during this time will be added to the hundreds of comments received since public involvement kicked off in June 2018.

Ways to comment

• Visit www.verdeconnect.com and click on “Get Involved” to complete a short survey. Or, click on “Contact Us” to be added to the project email list.

• Call Public Involvement Manager Kristin Darr at 602-750-7139 for more information or to be added to our mailing list.

If you already submitted comments before, you do not need to do it again.

All comments received since we started asking for input last summer will be incorporated into the work.

More public meetings

The Study Team is working on a new schedule that incorporates the NEPA process. The next round of public meetings will be scheduled for May 2019 to obtain public input on different route alternatives and the criteria to evaluate them.

Background

The Verde Connect Project represents a 25-year vision for the construction of a new north-south regional roadway between Cornville Road and State Route (SR) 260 in an area bounded by Interstate 17, Cornville Road, SR 260, and SR 89A.

The new route has been in Regional Transportation Plans for years. This is a multi-phase project that envisions a two-lane roadway and a bridge across the Verde River to connect the northern portion of the Yavapai-Apache Nation and the Town of Camp Verde to the regionally significant SR 260 corridor (extending from SR260 to Cornville Road).

No route has been selected.

Yavapai County and FHWA will conduct a thorough and transparent process to identify possible routes and compare them, so the best alterative can be selected with the least amount of impact.

Comments

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