Planners have developed four alternatives for improving traffic flow at the intersection of Interstate 19 and Ruby Road and along the East Frontage Road to Rio Rico Drive, and local residents can ask questions about those alternatives and offer comments during a public meeting next week.
The meeting is scheduled to run 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at the Esplendor Resort. A presentation is set to begin at 5:30 p.m.
The four alternatives that will be discussed at the meeting are the result of a traffic study begun in 2012 by the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.
“The study evaluated existing and projected peak-hour traffic operations and developed alternatives for potential capacity and operational improvements to accommodate forecasted growth through the year 2040,” ADOT said in a brochure to advertise the upcoming meeting.
The east frontage road currently provides the only access to a warehouse district used by commercial trucks. But while the road offers two-way, north-south transit from Ruby Road to Kipper Street on warehouse row, the segment from Kipper Street to Rio Rico Drive is one-way only northbound.
“Based on the current traffic configuration, all traffic entering the warehouse district must use the Ruby Road traffic interchange, while traffic exiting the warehouse district may use either the Ruby Road or Rio Rico Drive traffic interchange,” ADOT said.
At the same time, residential traffic and school buses travel between the east and west sides of I-19 in the area, compounding traffic flow problems.
Options for change
The four proposed solutions include:
• Alternative A: Make the east frontage road two-way all the way to Rio Rico Drive. This plan would allow ingress to the business park from both Exit 12 (Ruby Road) and Exit 17 (Rio Rico Drive), thereby reducing backtracking for trucks. The Ruby Road interchange would not be improved by this alternative.
• Alternative B: Convert the east frontage road south of Ruby Road to one-way northbound and combine it with the northbound I-19 exit ramp, with a new access road connecting it to the interchange from a new access road to the east. However, since the land in the southeast quadrant of the I-19/Ruby Road interchange is privately owned and may be developed as a truck stop, a sub-alternative (B1) would not provide direct southbound access in that quadrant. Instead, traffic south of Ruby Road would need to travel south on I-19 or the west frontage road to access homes and businesses south of Ruby Road and east of I-19.
• Alternative C: This alternative would reconstruct the I-19/Ruby Road interchange as a roundabout interchange.
• Alternative D: This alternative would reconstruct the I-19/Ruby Road interchange to a Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI). With a DDI interchange, crossroad traffic crosses to the opposite side of the roadway within the limits of the interchange to allow free right and left turns to and from the I-19 ramps.
More details on these alternatives will be made available at the Jan. 29 meeting, as well as on the project website azdot.gov/I19ruby.