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Traffic safety concerns rising as Rocking K continues to grow

Rocking K entrance
Posted at 6:11 AM, Jun 17, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Weeks after an accident closed East Old Spanish Trail, residents are still asking questions about the future of the intersection.

"A lot of the time, people are speeding in there and going around me, and then a lot of the times, we just had that accident a couple weeks ago, and they had to block off that entire road, so that prevented me from getting to work," says Kaitlyn Higgins.

Higgins uses East Old Spanish Trail to get to and from work during the week.

"It's just constantly busy, because people are taking this road all the time now that it's connected from Houghton to Valencia," said Higgins.

But when it comes to who and what needs to be done at the intersection, the county says the initiative lays with the developer.

"When they reach 1,750 units...that will trigger the installation of a traffic signal at that location. The latest information we have is, I believe in March of 2024, building permits showed almost 1000 units at this point," said Paul Casertano, Deputy Director of the Pima County Department of Transportation.

And he says the upgrades will include a full traffic signal.

"There will certainly need to be sufficient safe access to and from the development. And so the main entrance, that will mean a full traffic signal that will kind of control the access to and from Rocking K," said Casertano.

The developer of Rocking K is Diamond Ventures.

They declined an interview but did provide KGUN9 a comment saying, "We have approximately 657 families at our Rocking K community between for sale and for rent housing. We are currently in discussions with Supervisor Christy and Pima County staff to accelerate a new traffic signal on Old Spanish Trail Road in advance of the current technical requirement."

This comment came after the sit down with Deputy Director Casertano, but he later confirmed in a text message that discussions are taking place.

The timeline of the process is still up in the air, but once designs are finished by the developer, they will need to be approved by the county before construction can begin.

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Blake Phillips is a reporter for KGUN 9. Originally from St. Louis, Mo., Blake grew up in Sierra Vista. During his college tenure at the Missouri School of Journalism, Blake worked for the NBC affiliate KOMU-TV in Columbia. He is excited to return to a place he calls home and give back to the community in which he grew up. Share your story ideas and important issues with Blake by emailing blake.phillips@kgun9.com.