The Quail Crossing Boulevard and Old Nogales Highway intersection is set to undergo significant upgrades as Union Pacific (UP) and the Town of Sahuarita gear up for improvement initiatives expected to commence in April.
Planned Upgrades by Union Pacific
Union Pacific has announced plans to initiate upgrades on the railroad section’s infrastructure, specifically focusing on the replacement of the existing bungalow and other essential signal components. According to Beth Abramovitz, Assistant Town Manager, the bungalow, serving as the control hub for the signal equipment, will undergo a complete replacement. Additionally, UP aims to enhance the lights and gates associated with the intersection.
The need for a custom-built bungalow arose when Quail Crossing connected to Old Nogales Highway in December 2022, necessitating compatibility with the four-way intersection.
Simultaneous Town Initiatives
In tandem with Union Pacific’s efforts, the Town of Sahuarita has outlined its own set of tasks. This includes restriping, installing signal heads on the pre-signal, and running a conduit to connect with UP’s bungalow. Notably, the town has already procured all the necessary equipment to facilitate its part of the upgrades.
Flashing Lights History and Issues
Since its opening, the intersection has relied on flashing lights. The flashing yellow signals Old Nogales Highway to proceed, while the red signals others to stop until it’s deemed safe. However, this setup has not been without challenges.
The period following the extension’s opening in December 2022 witnessed a staggering 325% increase in crashes at the intersection. Between January 1, 2023, and November 22 of the same year, there were 17 reported crashes, compared to only four for the entirety of 2022. It’s essential to note that the intersection was previously a T-intersection with a stop sign for traffic leaving Quail Creek before the extension.
Addressing Safety Concerns
Beth Abramovitz expressed optimism about the forthcoming upgrades, emphasizing that once completed, the gates and signal would be able to communicate effectively. This advancement is expected to contribute to a safer traffic environment at the Quail Crossing Boulevard and Old Nogales Highway intersection.