The Arizona Department of Transportation will begin a project in January 2017 to improve safety for motorists traveling on Interstate 19 in southern Arizona by removing trees adjacent to travel lanes from Nogales to Tucson.
The $904,000 project, funded with federal Highway Safety Improvement Project monies, will create a 30-foot-wide “recovery zone” on both the outside and median travel lanes of I-19. The recovery zone provides clear space for motorists to regain control of vehicles that stray from the roadway for any reason.
A study conducted by ADOT led to a statewide project to construct recovery zones adjacent to highways with the most tree-related crashes in the Arizona. Interstate 19 is the first of the routes to be addressed because crash data shows the interstate has had the most collisions involving roadside trees in the state highway system.
The project will begin in the Nogales area and move north to Tucson, where it will end just south of Valencia Road. Crews will use machinery to cut trees just above ground level, and then mulch the trees to provide ground cover in the project area.