NOGALES, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Arizona Department of Transportation has released a draft of a proposed revamp of State Route 189, commonly referred to as Mariposa Road.
Construction of part of the plan is set to begin as early as fiscal year 2019 if it's approved, but it's getting mixed reviews from local residents and business owners.
ADOT held a public hearing Tuesday, Jan. 31 in which representatives presented this draft to the public. They've been working on this since 2011 and the project mainly focuses on the 3.75-mile corridor from the Mariposa Port of Entry to Grand Avenue.
According to the presentation CLICK HERE, the project is aimed at improving traffic capacity and providing for the projected increase of traffic on SR 189 by the year 2040, all while reducing crashes.
The Greater Nogales and Santa Cruz County Port Authority chairman Guillermo Valencia says this project is necessary to be able to keep up with the growing economy along the Nogales/Arizona border. He said 85 percent of trade that Arizona does with Mexico comes through the Mariposa Port of Entry, and according to Valencia, that's about $32 billion worth of trade.
"Arizona is competing with Texas and California or else, we could lose the business we have now," said Valencia. "We want to get new business. We want to grow. The state of Arizona has made Mexico a focus so, we want to have the facilities and the infrastructure for that future growth."
The plan features new additions such as a flyover ramp onto northbound I-19 and a widened ramp from southbound I-19.
You can read an overview of this project here --> http://azdot.gov/planning/transportation-studies/sr-189-study-international-border-to-grand-avenue/overview
Meanwhile, Tomas Martinez of Martinez Funeral Chapels thinks ADOT and the other agencies involved in this project need to go back to the drawing board. His business is located right off of Mariposa Road and said the road widening portion of the plan is going to cut off half of his parking lot.
"I don't think there's many businesses that rely on truck trailer traffic to come into their properties," said Martinez. "I understand that our industry is a lot of that produce, but I think we can come up with a better plan."
Raymond Kory, a local business owner and engineer, believes building a median will get in the way of local traffic from accessing businesses along the new road.
"The only commercial, industrial corridor left to develop in Nogales is on Mariposa Road," said Kory. "If they do what they want to do on Mariposa Road, it's going to ruin any progress that we could do there because of the traffic. For ADOT, they're in the business of moving traffic. That's what they do. If there's any collateral damage, then that's the way it goes, but I'm the collateral damage and I don't like it at all."
If you'd like to submit your comments or concerns, you can log on to ADOT's website azdot.gov/SR189DraftEA or send them by mail to 1655 W. Jackson St., Mail d rop 126F, Phoenix, AZ 85007.