Hundreds of tractor trailers loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables use the road daily during the peak import season, according to a news release.
The FPAA, industry members, state and county officials and others attended a March 4 groundbreaking ceremony on the start of construction on State Route 189 in Nogales, also known as Mariposa Road.
The City of Nogales and Santa Cruz County are allocating $45 million over the course of the project, using part of a fee that’s imposed on produce loads entering the U.S., according to the release. Other funds for the $134 million project include $25 million from the state and $25 million from a federal grant.
“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,” Lance Jungmeyer, FPAA president, said in the release. “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 Arizona Department of Transportation estimates the improvements will cut 10 minutes travel time from trucks heading north from the border.
Besides road enhancements, there will be a ramp from Mariposa Road to I-19, eliminating stop lights that delay traffic.
“The benefit this will bring to the produce industry is hugely important as we strive to maintain our competitive advantages,” Scott Vandervoet, FPAA chairman and president of Vandervoet & Associates, said in the release.
“The improvements along State Route 189 will improve safety, enhance trade and foster an even stronger relationship with our neighbors in Mexico,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in a news release.
The Arizona Department of Transportation has more information on the project on its website.