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Design of new Tucson interchange promotes efficiency and safety

One signal to control all traffic at I-19 and Ajo Way
December 19, 2017
Ajo Way Interchange Rendering

TUCSON ‒ It may not be immediately apparent to those using the busy interchange of Interstate 19 and Ajo Way (State Route 86), but a single set of signals will soon control traffic in a configuration designed for efficiency and safety.

I-19 and Ajo Way soon will become the Arizona Department of Transportation’s third single-point urban interchange in the Tucson area. Others are at I-19 and Valencia Road, and at Kino Parkway and State Route 210 (Barraza-Aviation Parkway).

“We have an opportunity at Ajo Way and I-19 to use a design that allows traffic to move more efficiently through the intersection more quickly because drivers only have to move through one set of lights instead of two,” said James Gomes, regional traffic engineer for ADOT’s South Central District.

Temporary signals are in place at Ajo Way at this time. The new signals are scheduled to begin operating in January.

Created in 1974 in Clearwater, Florida, the design is often used when an interchange is being reconstructed. In a single-point urban interchange, left-turn drivers from opposite directions can move through the intersection at the same time. Among its other benefits, the design accommodates larger vehicles, including trucks and recreational vehicles, even better than traditional diamond interchanges.

This design has safety advantages as well. While the rate of collisions is about the same, the single-point urban interchange has a lower rate of injuries and fatalities.

After crews poured the new bridge deck over last weekend, the first phase of the project, which also includes widening Ajo Way and improved exit ramps at Ajo Way and Irvington Road, remains on schedule for completion in the spring. The second phase, which hasn’t yet accepted bids from potential contractors, will include widening southbound I-19, an additional transition lane for northbound traffic between Irvington and Ajo Way and improvements on Ajo Way that include a new bridge over the Santa Cruz River.

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Pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ADOT does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability. Persons that require a reasonable accommodation based on language or disability should contact ADOT’s Civil Rights Office at Requests should be made as early as possible to ensure the State has an opportunity to address the accommodation.

De acuerdo con el título VI de la Ley de Derechos Civiles de 1964 y la Ley de Estadounidenses con Discapacidades (ADA por sus siglas en inglés), el Departamento de Transporte de Arizona (ADOT por sus siglas en inglés) no discrimina por raza, color, nacionalidad, edad, género o discapacidad.  Personas que requieren asistencia (dentro de lo razonable) ya sea por el idioma o por discapacidad deben ponerse en contacto con la Oficina de Derechos Civiles en Las solicitudes deben hacerse lo más pronto posible para asegurar que el equipo encargado del proyecto tenga la oportunidad de hacer los arreglos necesarios.