State Route 189 work enters the home stretch

By Tom Herrmann / ADOT Communications

As March turned into April, Arizona Department of Transportation crews working near the international border in Nogales celebrated the first anniversary of work on State Route 189 the way only roadbuilders can: Moving the last of a combined 8.5 million pounds of concrete-and-steel girders into place.

Last March, Governor Doug Ducey, along with government and business leaders from southern Arizona, broke ground on a project that is expected to create economic growth in Santa Cruz County while making one of Nogales’ busiest roads safer and less congested. 

ADOT is building two ramps connecting SR 189 with Interstate 19. When the work is complete this fall, the ramps will make Nogales a more attractive place for international commerce to enter the US. That’s significant; the Mariposa Port of Entry saw about $25.5 billion in imports and exports in 2019, including much of the winter produce consumed in the U.S.

They’ll also save trucking companies time and money by eliminating the need to stop at three traffic signals, and they’ll make SR 189 safer for Nogales High School students who will no longer have to navigate around those trucks to get to school.

The ramps provide an impressive site for southbound drivers on I-19. The northbound ramp runs for just more than half a mile, while the southbound ramp is just more than one-third of a mile long. They come together just west of Frank Reed Road. The ramps include 122 girders, each averaging about 70,000 pounds and 135 feet long.

Between now and when the work is complete, crews will be pouring concrete decks on the ramps, finishing a new roundabout at Target Range Road and completing the remaining tasks to make SR 189 better for Nogales, better for international trucking and better for Arizona’s economy.

“Better roads,” Governor Ducey said at last year’s groundbreaking, “mean a better future for Arizona.” 

In Nogales, that better future is just a few months away.