In 2012, the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration began working on a study to enhance traffic flow at the I-19 and Ruby Road traffic interchange and along the I-19 east frontage road from Ruby Road to Rio Rico Drive. In 2016, the study transitioned to an east and west frontage road study between Ruby Road and Rio Rico Drive. The study has included collaboration with community representatives and jurisdictions, including Rio Rico, Santa Cruz County and the city of Nogales.
The purpose of the study is to improve traffic flow and meet current and future traffic needs in this area. The study evaluated existing and projected peak-hour traffic operations and developed alternatives for potential capacity and operational improvements to accommodate forecasted growth through the year 2040.
An Active and Growing Corridor
The Rio Rico community, which was established in 1969 and has grown from 1,400 residents in 1990 to the current estimate of 20,000, is part of this study area.
- The I-19 East Frontage Road between Ruby Road and Rico Drive provides sole access to a warehouse district that is used by commercial trucks transporting goods along U.S.-Mexico trade routes.
- The I-19 East Frontage Road between Ruby Road and Rico Drive features two-way traffic (north- and southbound) from Ruby Road to Kipper Street and one-way traffic (northbound only) from Kipper Street to Rio Rico Drive (0.8 mile segment).
- Based on the current traffic configuration, all traffic entering the warehouse district must use the Ruby Road traffic interchange, while traffic exiting the warehouse district may use either the Ruby Road or Rio Rico Drive traffic interchange.
- There are also residential traffic and school buses in the area, which travel between the east and west sides of I-19.