By Garin Groff / ADOT Communications
The Renaissance is known for its advances in science, art and culture, among its many historic accomplishments.
So with an annual festival celebrating the Renaissance drawing heavy traffic along US 60 near Gold Canyon, ADOT has turned to the very modern science of traffic engineering to help reduce delays not only for attendees but for residents and visitors heading to and from areas east of the venue.
These improvements, introduced last year, are returning when the Arizona Renaissance Festival kicks off its 2019 run on Saturday.
The most noticeable improvement helps address eastbound traffic as people head to the festival in the morning. Traffic backups on eastbound US 60 have reached up to 11 miles in recent years. Thanks to some traffic-management changes made in partnership with festival organizers, the queue shrank to less than 3 miles last year.
This benefit results from two changes where US 60 reaches the festival gates, said Tony Abbo, an ADOT traffic engineer who oversaw the effort.
The festival added a small section of asphalt at the west gate so vehicles could turn into the facility more efficiently. Also, a crossover was added in the median at the eastern gate so westbound drivers had a direct turn into the event grounds. Previously, delays were exacerbated by those drivers making U-turns to merge with eastbound traffic.
The improvement won’t just benefit Renaissance Festival attendees. Based on last year's travel time studies, drivers who were just passing through the area toward places like Superior or Globe saw delays drop to about 8 minutes compared with other non-event weekends.
ADOT monitored and fine-tuned throughout last year’s event with help from a drone.
Our engineers will continue monitoring traffic until the event ends March 31 to determine if further improvements can be made this year or in the future.