As it was reported two weeks ago in the Douglas Dispatch, Douglas’ Mayor and City Council approved the execution of an intergovernmental agreement between the Arizona Department of Transportation and the City of Douglas to redesign the traffic configuration for southbound Port of Entry traffic trying to cross to Mexico.
The following map shows the proposed changes to modify the southbound lanes to cross into Mexico that the City of Douglas and ADOT have come up with to provide a solution. It provides three lanes southbound, two for non-commercial vehicles and one for commercial vehicles. Also it provides two northbound lanes to ensure the safety of vehicles getting into the U.S.
She explained that the City has not experienced the big lines to cross to Mexico before, so when it started affecting the businesses and general public they had to go to ADOT to express their concerns about the issue, because as it is known, Pan American Avenue belongs to the state and it is not a city road.
According to Ortega, to address this challenge, staff has worked closely with ADOT to ensure an effective solution was developed in a timely fashion. First stages of the project included open meetings with community members to let them express their feelings about the situation and possible suggestions to implement.
Now that after council approved the agreement, it has to go to the state for approval. After approval an environmental and utility clearance is needed before the construction to be started.
“It is a delicate process that we have to look at,” Ortega said. “It is a very special case that involves a lot of traffic of vehicles and pedestrians, so we want to make sure that all the aspects looked up before we actually do construction.”
Ortega has informed that the project will start no later than the end of this year or the first quarter of 2013 and the construction would last between 6-8 months approximately.
Ortega expresses her confidence in this project by saying she thinks one of the factors the community would like is that the construction is flexible; it consist of temporary barriers and they are moveable, so in case the traffic changes eventually at that time the City has the option or removing or relocate the barriers for the comfort of the people.
“This is a good thing because is effective but is also changeable,” she said.
Ortega recommended the community to stay tuned with this project through the media and the City of Douglas website, or asking directly at City of Douglas facilities, where is possible to find public notices or public work notices, to notify people what areas to avoid during construction and if there are restrictions on the street in the future.
The proposal is intended to ensure the safety of both vehicles and pedestrians and not to increase crossing speed into Mexico, since the delays are mainly caused by car inspections made by the U.S. Customs to comply with Federal mandate to look for currency, drugs and weapons going into Mexico.
For more information, please visit www.douglasaz.org
The project consist of the modification of pavement markings and striping on U.S. 191B to provide three southbound lanes and two northbound lanes south of 3rd Street, an automatic metering signal system with a manual override, and barricades to direct traffic as needed. Two lines will be used by non-commercial vehicles, while a third line will allow commercial vehicles or trucks to cross to Mexico. The City will be responsible for the electrical power expenses of the metering traffic signal. The anticipated cost electrical power expense is approximately $1,000 per year, to be funded out of the HURF fund.