Not too long ago, walking on the shoulder of the road — even in the most trafficked areas of town — was the norm in Camp Verde.
The practice was dangerous. It slowed down automobile traffic considerably and discouraged pedestrian travel.
Times have changed: Recent construction to sidewalk infrastructure, while at times irritating to commuters due to traffic slowing and road restrictions and closures, has expanded the ability of locals and visitors alike to navigate Camp Verde by foot.
A frequently traveled portion of Finnie Flat Road, beginning at Main Street and continuing west to the stoplight at Cliffs Parkway, has been closed to westbound traffic for over a month as crews work to construct a concrete sidewalk, ramps, curb and gutter on the north side of the roadway.
Crews are also installing new lighting, signage and landscape improvements along the route.
The project began on March 20 and is expected to conclude by Aug. 18, according to Town of Camp Verde Public Works Analyst Deborah Ranney.
The Arizona Department of Transportation awarded the $788,968.75 construction contract to Intermountain West Civil Constructors in February.
The construction schedule is Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., though crews occasionally work on Friday depending on circumstances.
“The project will benefit motorists and pedestrians with new sidewalks, including pedestrian lighting and improved safety and drainage features,” Ranney said. “The project will provide sidewalk connectivity from Finnie Flat Road to Cliffs Parkway and Main Street to the recently constructed sidewalks on State Route 260 from Main Street to Seventh Street.
“The sidewalk provides a dedicated space for pedestrians. It encourages people to use less gas, get more exercise and enjoy the surroundings in Camp Verde.”
According to Ranney, the section of Finnie Flat Road substantially improves safety for foot travelers, allowing more convenient access to town facilities, businesses and places of employment.
The project will not immediately lead to more construction, Ranney said, but the town is considering its infrastructural future carefully.
“This is a stand-alone project,” Ranney said. “The town received the federally-funded grant through ADOT specifically for this section of sidewalk. Future plans [no defined date] will include sidewalk on Finnie Flat Road from Cliffs Parkway to State Route 260 at the Verde Valley Medical Center Camp Verde campus.”
Ranney advised caution when following signage, using traffic control directions and watching for workers in the rights-of-way.