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SR 238

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Sonoran Valley Parkway project alternative

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today signed a Record of Decision (ROD) that will allow the City of Goodyear to build the proposed Sonoran Valley Parkway in Maricopa County largely on public lands.

The parkway will provide a direct route in southern Goodyear connecting Rainbow Valley Road to the community of Mobile and State Route 238, expecting to improve emergency response times in the fastest growing county in the nation. Goodyear annexed Mobile a decade ago, but pathways between are narrow, dirt roads. The parkway also could provide another route to the West Valley for Maricopans.

 “Above all, the federal government’s job is to keep our people safe and respect our neighbors. Today we are proudly fulfilling both of those missions. This project will improve emergency response times, which means lives will be saved.  Additionally, the community will enjoy increased access to recreation and position the City of Goodyear for economic success well into the future,” said Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Joe Balash. “I appreciate the thoughtful approach of the BLM and the community toward balancing the needs of residents with management of sensitive desert habitat.”

The ROD was signed today, providing the rationale for the BLM’s decision to grant the 250-foot wide right-of-way for the two-lane parkway, with potential for future expansion. The ROD and other available project materials can be found on the BLM ePlanning website at https://go.usa.gov/xP9zF.

Once the BLM grants the right-of-way, the City of Goodyear would need to finalize the parkway’s design. Construction of the first two lanes is estimated to take approximately 32 months to complete. Expansion beyond a two-lane parkway would require further authorizations from the BLM and would be subject to additional environmental review.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement evaluating the potential environmental impacts associated with the construction, operation and maintenance of the right-of-way was published on March 22, 2019.

Photo by Mason Callejas

 

Neighbors in a residential area say their quality of life has been disturbed and their road safety is at risk thanks to a speed limit increase on a busy state route.

Greg Swindall, his wife Carol and their friend Roger Tull are Acacia Crossings residents with a bone to pick with the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Their neighborhood borders SR 238 and, for the past six months, their friends and they have noticed an increase in traffic noise and speed.

The culprit?

ADOT increased the speed limit on the highway from 40 mph to 50 mph next to the subdivision in August, and neighbors complain large trucks and other traffic drive well over the new speed limit.

“The real problem is when diesel trucks come into town and they’re engine breaking,” Greg Swindall said. “They’re down-shifting and some of those engines are really, really loud.”

Tull, vice president for the neighborhood HOA board, said residents make regular complaints during meetings against the loud, rumbling noise braking diesel trucks make when approaching John Wayne Parkway.

Carol Swindall was visiting her neighbor one morning and heard a big rig brake just outside the subdivision.

“I about jumped out of my seat. It was so loud,” she said.

But the noise increase isn’t the only issue. Residents say safety is a concern too.

Traffic heading east and west is traveling around 10 mph over the new limits, neighbors estimate, and it’s making access out of their neighborhood more difficult and dangerous.

“Now when they come in town they’re doing 60 to 65 mph, and when you’re turning out of Roosevelt and you’re not used to those trucks being on top of you in a heartbeat, we have pulled out and really had to speed up because you don’t realize how fast those trucks are going,” Greg Swindall said.

Residents expressed their concerns with ADOT online and by telephone, but ADOT redirects their concerns to local authorities or within their own engineering department. The Swindalls said follow-up is non-existent.

“I just don’t understand the rationale of why they did it,” Greg Swindall said. “Why would you increase the speed right behind a residential area?”

ADOT spokesman Tom Herrmann said the reason behind the increase is department staff observed traffic in the area driving faster than the previously posted speed limits.

Herrmann said most of the speed limits in the ADOT-managed stretch of SR 238 were generally 55 mph.

The observation led to a speed study.

“Following the ‘Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices’ from the Federal Highway Administration, speed limits are posted to reflect the maximum speed considered safe and reasonable by the majority of drivers,” Herrmann said.

The majority of drivers defined by ADOT is the speed driven at or below by 85 percent of drivers.

West of Acacia Crossings, the study led ADOT to increase its portion of the roadway from 55 mph to 60 mph.

But residents in the subdivision experienced what they view as a substantial 10 mph increase just outside their neighborhood and would like to see it changed back.

“We aren’t asking a whole lot. Just put it back the way it was,” Greg Swindall said.


This story appears in the March issue of InMaricopa.

A truck was involved in a two-vehicle crash on SR 238 Wednesday. Photo by Mason Callejas

Police are investing a driver of a pickup truck for a possible DUI after a collision with a sedan on State Route 238 Wednesday afternoon, Maricopa Police Department said.

“We are not sure if it is alcohol or drug-related, but there is a DUI investigation currently underway,” MPD Sgt. Steven Judd said.

Ricardo Alvarado, spokesman for the Maricopa Police Department, said the accident occurred around 1:19 p.m. on SR 238 near White Road, west of Ak-Chin Southern Dunes.

Judd said the passenger sedan was heading east on SR 238 when a westbound pickup truck hauling a small trailer crossed over into the eastbound lane.

The truck struck the rear driver-side of the car, causing it to spin.

“(The sedan) did run off the road and went through the barbed wire fences and down into the ravine,” said Maricopa Fire/Medical Department spokesman Brad Pitassi.

The truck continued down the road about 50 yards, and then the trailer disengaged and rolled, Judd said.

The 71-year-old female driver of the sedan was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. The driver of the pickup truck refused medical attention, Pitassi said.

The collision caused police to temporarily shut down State Route 238. Crews are working to reopen the roadway.

The driver (in hat) and passengers from a tractor-trailer rig talk to MPD Officer Jeff Brooks after a collision with a van. The other driver was investigated for DUI after apparently trying to execute a U-turn in front of the truck. Photo by Michelle Chance

The Maricopa Police Department is investigating a possible DUI relating to an accident involving a tractor-trailer rig on State Route 238 near milepost 43 Friday afternoon.

MPD Officer Jeff Brooks said the driver of a silver passenger van was driving west ahead of a tractor-trailer around 2:30 p.m. when the van apparently attempted to make a sudden U-turn into eastbound traffic.

Brooks said the tractor-trailer did not have time to stop before hitting the driver-side of the turning van. Police suspect the driver of the van of driving under the influence.

MPD reported the tractor-trailer had just unloaded manure prior to the collision and was returning to a nearby dairy.

Maricopa Fire/Medical Department spokesman Brad Pitassi said first responders initially reported three minor injuries, although no one was transported to the hospital.

Police temporarily detoured traffic in the area between Ralston and Loma roads. Police cleared the accident and opened the roadway at 3:38 p.m.

ADOT workers block SR 238 from eastbound traffic after a fatal crash Thursday morning. Photo by Michelle Chance

An accident between a vehicle and a bicycle has left one person dead this morning.

The incident occurred around 4:30 a.m. on State Route 238 about a mile west of SR 347 at Green Road near Ak-Chin Southern Dunes.

According to Maricopa Police Department spokesman Ricardo Alvarado, a 47-year-old man was dead at the scene. The driver of the vehicle had called emergency services and reported striking something on the road. The driver and cyclist were both traveling west on the highway.

The driver was taken to MPD for further questioning. Alvarado said impairment has not been ruled out. A blood sample was taken and sent to the lab for analysis.

Traffic has been stopped in both directions between Edison Road (Loma) and Ralston Road. Detours have been set up. Arizona Department of Transportation is asking drivers to allow for extra time and use extra caution in the area.

MPD is still trying to notify next of kin.

SR 238 has been closed to westbound traffic most of the day. Photo by Ethan McSweeney

State Route 238 has been closed to through-traffic since 11: 25 a.m. and remains closed until further notice after a fatal crash, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Officials closed the road starting at milepost 40, about four miles west of SR 347 near Ralston Road, to give traffic an alternative route around the site. The actual crash was much farther west near State Route 85 in Maricopa County.

Local traffic is still allowed through.

According to the Department of Public Safety, a rollover collision blocked traffic in both directions. The DPS commercial vehicle enforcement unit assisted Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office at the scene.

 

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