NOGALES – The Federal Highway Administration has cleared the way for the Arizona Department of Transportation to begin design and construction of vital improvements to State Route 189, the 3.75-mile roadway connecting the Mariposa Port of Entry with Interstate 19 in Nogales.
The federal agency has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact based upon ADOT’s environmental studies for the project, which includes a flyover ramp connecting northbound SR 189 with northbound I-19. The final environmental assessment can be found on the project website: azdot.gov/sr189.
Work is scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2019.
“After years of working closely with the community on this environmental study, we’re moving forward with the first phase of improvements that will benefit Nogales and international commerce for many years to come,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said.
The plans approved by the Finding of No Significant Impact incorporate agency and public comments received during a public meeting in January and throughout the comment period. They include intersection improvements between Target Range Road and Grand Avenue and a wider roadway in addition to the northbound flyover ramp.
About 80 percent of goods entering Arizona from Mexico come through Mariposa, one of the nation’s busiest land ports of entry. It’s about a mile west of the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry, where most individuals cross the border in Nogales.
A $25 million appropriation passed by the Arizona Legislature and signed by Governor Doug Ducey aimed at accelerating the project has made it possible for work to start two years earlier than originally planned. In addition, $40 million in federal funds will go toward SR 189 improvements.
ADOT continues working with the community on ways to fund additional improvements, including a flyover ramp connecting southbound I-19 with SR 189. Funding isn’t currently available for those improvements, estimated to cost up to $75 million.
ADOT recently applied for a $25 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant as a way to move forward with additional improvements.
In 2014, ADOT completed $1.5 million in improvements to the SR 189 corridor that included synchronized signal timing and improvements at the SR 189 interchange with I-19. In 2012, ADOT received a Best Use of Innovation Award from America’s Transportation Awards for a project using technology to speed up processing of trucks crossing the border.