NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN) — State Road 189 in Nogales is a traffic artery that carries part of the economic life blood of southern Arizona. It is getting unclogged in a way that improves safety and builds up business.
SR 189 is full of trucks hauling fruit and vegetables for Arizona’s bustling produce industry along with parts and products going to and from factories on the Mexican side.
Jaime Chamberlain chairs the Greater Nogales-Santa Cruz County Port Authority. He says, “We're on pace to break 400 thousand trucks this year. That's just northbound. That doesn't include what goes back southbound and it doesn't include what goes back southbound and it doesn't include the trucks that are coming in from all over North America to come pick up products in Nogales.
Chamberlain says features of the SR 189 like large ramps over I-19, and a roundabout at a busy intersection cut congestion and improve safety.
“So we have all those semi trucks whether they’re maquilas or produce or any of the other products they have with them, they’re converging on to this one intersection and this one main road. That is fairly dangerous. So this flyover bridge and this SR 189 project is extremely important for the safety of our community but not only for the efficiency and the throughput of all the trucks coming through here.”
Chamberlain says for a big project this one’s moved fast, with a groundbreaking in spring of last year and a chance the flyovers could be ready for traffic next month.
He thinks it may come in under its budget of 134 million dollars. But he says improving SR189 is just part of the goal for the area. Chamberlain wants to convince ADOT to fast track ways to ease congestion at I-19 and Ruby Road too.