Rising Collision Rates at Old Nogales Highway and Quail Crossing Boulevard After Extension
The intersection of Old Nogales Highway and Quail Crossing Boulevard has experienced a significant surge in accidents, soaring by a staggering 325% since the Quail Crossing Boulevard extension debuted in December 2022. Data collected under Arizona’s public records law indicates that from January 1 to November 22 of the current year, there have been 17 reported collisions, a stark contrast to the mere four incidents in the entire year of 2022.
Factors Contributing to Increased Collisions
Sahuarita Police Commander Manuel Amado attributes this sharp rise in accidents to various factors. He points out that the introduction of a new traffic signal at the intersection, the extension of Quail Creek Crossing to Nogales Highway, and heightened traffic volume collectively contribute to the alarming surge. Amado also emphasizes the role of inattentiveness and speeding as significant factors behind these accidents.
Operational Challenges of the New Traffic Signal
Despite the Quail Crossing Boulevard extension opening on December 21, 2022, the traffic signal at the intersection remains partially functional, displaying flashing red and yellow lights. Amado highlights the confusion among motorists regarding the purpose of these flashing signals, clarifying that drivers encountering a flashing red light must stop before cautiously proceeding once the path is clear. On the other hand, those facing a flashing yellow signal should reduce speed and proceed cautiously without mandatory stopping.
Delay in Signal Activation and Upgrades
The delayed activation of the signal poses challenges in ensuring safe traffic management. Amado indicates that giving permanent green signals to Old Nogales Highway drivers until the traffic signal is fully operational would contradict the Federal Highway Administration’s regulations outlined in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
Town of Sahuarita spokesperson Hailee Tavoian sheds light on the delays in signal activation, mentioning that Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) began the process of acquiring necessary materials for upgrades at the intersection as early as August. Despite the Arizona Corporation Commission’s approval in September, the arrival of all equipment and materials was anticipated to take several months, postponing construction initiation.
Expectations and Project Timeline
Lupe Valdez, UPRR’s senior director for public affairs, confirms having acquired all necessary materials and outlines plans to commence the project post-January 1, with an anticipated completion by the end of March. Tavoian emphasizes that upon completion of these upgrades, the town will be able to activate the signal. However, she points out the current inability to activate the signal due to the lack of synchronization between UPRR signals and gates.
Law Enforcement’s Vigilance and Future Steps
Amado reassures the community that the traffic bureau and patrol officers regularly monitor the intersection to address traffic issues, particularly focusing on speeding concerns. He stresses the significance of ongoing surveillance and intervention to ensure public safety at the problematic intersection.
In conclusion, the surge in accidents at the Old Nogales Highway and Quail Crossing Boulevard intersection underscores the complex interplay of infrastructure development, operational challenges, and regulatory compliance, highlighting the imperative for timely and coordinated measures to enhance traffic safety.