Several improvements to State Route 189 in Nogales, Arizona, might soon receive enough federal funding to allow accelerated construction beginning in 2019 – a move that could save taxpayers millions.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has applied for a $25 million TIGER grant that, if approved, would allow construction of all proposed improvements to SR 189 at the same time. There are two phases, with only one of them funded so far.
Plans for SR 189 in Nogales include a southbound flyover ramp at Interstate 19, in addition to a northbound flyover ramp that’s currently funded. The grant, if approved, would also be earmarked for the bridge over Frank Reed Road, which leads to Nogales High School, and other improvements to the 3.75-mile route connecting the Mariposa Port of Entry with I-19.
ADOT currently has enough funding for the first phase of the project. It includes a flyover ramp connecting northbound SR 189 and northbound Interstate 19, along with other improvements, officials say.
A $25 million commitment from the Arizona Legislature, signed by Gov. Doug Ducey, enables ADOT to begin construction in 2019 – two years earlier than initially planned.
Because funding is still needed for the second phase, which includes the bridge and flyover ramps, ADOT is working with the City of Nogales and Santa Cruz County to coordinate a partnership that could include funding.
Allowing construction of both phases to begin at the same time could trim the estimated project costs by $13 million, from $147 million to $134 million, according to ADOT.
The competitive grants dubbed TIGER, short for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, are part of a $500 million funding program that the U.S. Department of Transportation opened for applications on Sept. 7. It affords local and state stakeholders the opportunity to apply for discretionary funding to rebuild their infrastructure.
ADOT Director John Halikowski says the department is working with the community to accelerate improvements to the interstate and better support U.S.-Mexico trade.
TIGER grants are helping to pay for work on the SR 347 bridge over railroad tracks in Maricopa, and that project is beginning now.
Another $21.6 million was earmarked for the rehabilitation of Virgin River Bridge No. 6 on I-15 in northwestern Arizona.
Since 2009, Congress has earmarked nearly $5.1 billion in TIGER grants nationwide, officials say. The discretionary grant program is included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.