12/24/2013 10:21:00 AM Business owners: 'Flyover bridge' lets drivers skip Cordes Junction
Cashiers Jenna Jacobson, left, and Debbie Bealer at the Chevron Station in Cordes say the new interchange has affected business. They are hopeful it will pick up again in the summer.
BBN Photo/Sue Tone
Drivers between Phoenix and Flagstaff or Phoenix and Prescott may appreciate the newly configured I-17 interchange at Cordes Junction, but some businesses wish they still had the exposure to traffic passing nearer to their buildings.
"People can't see the businesses from the Interstate," Jenna Jacobson said. She has lived in Cordes Lakes since 1995 and worked at the Chevron station for a couple of months.
Cashier Debbie Bealer agreed.
"Business has slowed. Unless they specifically want to come in here, they just keep going on to Prescott," said Bealer, who has worked at Chevron for 14 months. "For this time of year, we're dead in the water. I'm sure it will pick up again in the summer."
Trucker business hasn't slowed, said Donna Funkhouser, assistant manager at the Shell station, although the roundabouts are frustrating to navigate, the truckers have told her. She likes the roundabouts because they slow down traffic and decrease accidents.
"Plus, it's funny to look out there and see them driving round and round," she said about drivers who can't figure out the directional signs.
The Arizona Department of Transportation completed the $50 million makeover of the traffic interchange at Cordes Junction this summer. An ADOT press release dated Dec. 19 said the original design, built in the 1960s, was outdated and no longer met the demands of increased traffic volume.
The project included construction of two new roundabouts, a flyover bridge carrying high-speed traffic over I-17 toward Prescott, a new overpass (Arcosanti Road) and new bridges.
Chuck Hodges, manager at the McDonald's, said during construction, business at the fast-food restaurant was "pretty dead," but has picked up since this summer.
"Drivers come in pretty frustrated because they can't figure out the signs. They would stop in and ask for directions, 'Which way is northbound? Which way is southbound?' The signs seem to cause problems for people passing through," Hodges said.
One such sign, Jean Chester said, is labeled "Cordes Road." Chester works two nights a week at the 50's Backseat Diner, where business has not dropped off.
"It says 'Cordes Road.' People see that and don't know where they are," she said.
ADOT has made several adjustments to signage after receiving community feedback, said Dustin Krugel, ADOT Public Information Officer.
"Modifications to the signage are typical for a project of this magnitude, which included a new roadway alignment that altered the driving patterns through the area," Krugel said. "ADOT will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the new additional signs."
Earlier this month, ADOT crews installed more than 40 additional blue general service signs at the southbound off-ramp on SR 69 and at the west roundabout near the ADOT maintenance yard. New route shield signs also were installed at each roundabout showing I-17 north and south.
ADOT has been working with Grand Canyon State Logo Signs to make some adjustments to the existing business logo signs. These large blue service signs provide motorists with information about what's at the next exit: restaurants, fuel, hotels, attractions and other qualified business categories. For businesses, logo signs are a very cost-effective means for reaching customers that need their products and services right when they are ready to make a purchase decision, Krugel said.
ADOT recently reached out to business owners regarding the need for additional logo signage and four business owners responded, he said.
"For instance, McDonalds requested a new southbound I-17 Exit 263 ramp logo sign, which was recently installed. Some business owners declined due to costs," Krugel said.
ADOT will install a new northbound SR 69 263 Exit ramp sign by the end of next month.
Krugel also said that during the project, some logo signs were removed, but were reinstalled shortly after construction was completed. There have been some modifications to the sign placement. ADOT also compensated the business owners for the period of time when the logo signs were removed.
Business owners who have concerns regarding the signage may call the ADOT Prescott District Community Relations Officer Tricia Lewis at 928-606-2420.
Posted: Thursday, December 26, 2013
Article comment by:
Greed And More Greed
Reading the article we can all agree there has been a learning curve traversing the junction. For many of us, there has been confusion with locals to travelers. But, the loss of business for the owners of Shell and Chevron is their greed to gouge at the pump. Today, anyone in their right mind (using the internet app like Gas Buddy) that travels via the Junction by-passes both these stations because it is nothing but ‘rape and pillage’. And, with that they should be boycotted.