The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas (FPAA) celebrated the groundbreaking of a massive overhaul to State Route 189 in Nogales, Ariz.
SR 189, also known as Mariposa Road, is the main thoroughfare for trucks crossing the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales and heading northbound on I-19 to area warehouses. The funding package leverages state, federal, city and county funding that make up the entire $134 million price tag.
“The road improvement will make sure our roads operate at the speed of business, creating an efficient flow of trade and travelers from the Mariposa Port to I-19,” says Lance Jungmeyer, FPAA president. “This project reduces transit time from the port of entry to local warehouses, giving companies a valuable incentive to locate their operations in Nogales.”
The City of Nogales and Santa Cruz County are committing approximately $45 million over the course of several years from their share of a fee paid by produce trucks crossing the border. The State Legislature committed $25 million of general fund money to this project. The road is also recognized as vital on a Federal level, and the project received an investment of $25 million through the award of a Federal Tiger Grant.
More than 2,000 trucks a day use this route, and the improvements should save more than 10 minutes per northbound truck, according to Arizona Department of Transportation.
“This is huge systems savings. It reduces emissions and makes the whole supply chain more efficient,” Jungmeyer adds.
The project will fund important enhancements to the entire length of SR 189 and will also construct a flyover ramp connecting SR 189 to I-19, which eliminates stoplights and left-hand turns that currently hamper movement of heavy trucks onto the interstate. The project is also designed as a crucial safety measure by separating the ingress and egress of local high school traffic from the intersection where it meets with the commercial traffic on SR 189.
“This is a project we have working on for many years. It is exciting to see this come to fruition especially since this is one of the largest transportation improvement projects in our state,” says Scott Vandervoet, FPAA chairman and president of Vandervoet & Associates. “The benefit this will bring to the produce industry is hugely important as we strive to maintain our competitive advantages.”