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The Arizona Department of Transportation is conducting a study regarding freight movement in the city of Willcox.
Situated in the southeast corner of the state, Willcox is 82 miles east of Tucson. Part of the city straddles Interstate 10, a major corridor that stretches across the southern U.S. from Santa Monica, Calif., to Jacksonville, Fla.
Initiated by ADOT and Willcox representatives, the study is meant to identify and evaluate issues related to freight travel and associated effects on traffic circulation in the city.
The study, which aims to assess safety and quality-of-life issues resulting from heavy-truck traffic in Willcox, involves a survey scheduled to end Aug. 31. Participants are asked to express their level of support for various potential truck route enhancement alternatives.
Have an opinion about downtown Willcox freight traffic and how to reduce the impact of the heavy truck traffic?— Arizona DOT (@ArizonaDOT) August 16, 2021
Take this survey before Sept 1:https://t.co/cFMBAGbbBt
More study details: https://t.co/EqN6EHnEqP pic.twitter.com/ZSrNUtnS5u
According to ADOT, a majority of the current and anticipated freight generators in the Willcox area are located along state Route 186, which is on the southeast side of the city. With current traffic patterns, the only way for trucks to access I-10 is by passing through downtown Willcox, creating congestion.
“The route, state Route 186 through downtown, includes a tight intersection where large vehicles need to turn,” ADOT spokesman Garin Groff said. “This creates congestion and slows the movement of freight.”
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Elements of the study involve identifying possible alternative heavy-truck routes and preparing an environmental overview of existing and potential truck routes.
ADOT and Willcox officials have identified several options for adjusting current traffic conditions to improve safety and freight movement. One alternative proposes building a small urban roundabout at the intersection of SR 186 and Haskell Avenue, which would allow large trucks to make turns by driving over the center island if needed.
Another option would involve reconfiguring the intersection of Haskell Avenue and state Route 186 to eliminate the left turn lanes and instead offer a striped-out space, which truckers could use to make wider maneuvers.
Three potential alternatives involve removing truck traffic from the intersection of Haskell Avenue and SR 186 altogether. One option suggests reconstructing existing city streets as a new truck corridor. This route would use 2nd Avenue, Stewart Street, Railroad Avenue and Jessie Street.
As a way to move traffic out of downtown Willcox entirely, one option would involve constructing a bypass roadway by extending 2nd Avenue and Rex Allen Drive to form a partial loop northeast of downtown with an at-grade crossing at the railroad tracks.
A similar alternative suggests creating a bypass by extending 2nd Avenue and Rex Allen Drive and constructing a bridge to carry traffic over the railroad tracks. According to ADOT, this option would be costly, as it would entail constructing a new roadway and overpass.
Study leaders also put forth a “no-build” option, which would not present changes to the existing configuration.
“We haven’t tracked the number of responses beyond seeing that people continue to submit the survey,” Groff said. “ADOT is encouraging local residents and stakeholders who haven’t yet taken the survey to do so by the end of August.”
ADOT anticipates planning and scoping for a preferred alternative that best serves freight operators and Willcox residents from August until November. A final report is expected to be submitted in January.
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