Town adjusts turn light timing to aid traffic

With major construction projects underway, Marana residents and visitors have had to deal with traffic issues, but the Town is doing their best to do what they can to adjust to changing traffic conditions. With projects at West Ina Road and I-10, East Tangerine Road and Cortaro/Cortaro Farms Roads, plus smaller projects on North Silverbell Road, West Twin Peaks Road and even south of the town at Sunrise Road, traffic has been affected adversely. 

Scott Leska, the Town of Marana Engineering Manager told business leaders at a Marana Chamber of Commerce Community and Regional Update that they recognize things are “tough” in places for their residents and businesses and that the closure of West Ina Road at the interstate has proven to be big challenge for the town. With extra traffic utilizing West Orange Grove Road to get off I-10, traffic was becoming an issue on North Thornydale Road between Orange Grove and Ina. 

Leska and his team’s first task was to re-time the traffic signals at the intersection and get the traffic moving on Thornydale. The most notable aspect of the retiming is the double service or double pump of the left hand turn lanes from eastbound Orange Grove onto north bound Thornydale. With more traffic utilizing Orange Grove to leave I-10, the Town saw a need to get traffic flowing better onto Thornydale to avoid back-ups on Orange Grove and the freeway. 

The turn lanes now get two green lights, allowing more cars through the intersection. 

“What we found, doing that, with just minor tweaking of the traffic timing, we could get more traffic moving through that left-turn movement,” Leska said.

Although more traffic was getting through that intersection and onto Thornydale, that caused problems of its own. The move caused a substantial delay and back-up with the left-turn movement at the intersection of Thornydale and West Costco Drive. 

“It seemed that everyone wanted to go to Costco,Home Depot, and the other businesses within that area,” Leska said.  

Drivers had to back up to the south of the dual left turns and occasionally blocked through traffic.

To combat the new problem, the Town allowed a double-service left-turn movement for that traffic cycle as well. As with the change at Orange Grove Road, that too helped with traffic flow. 

Due to the amount of traffic diverted due to construction activities within this area, the whole corridor will remain over capacity until the Ina Road project concludes. The Town’s goal is to  keep traffic moving as efficient possible. Traffic Signals were retimed at Horizon Hills, and have utilized flashing-yellow left-turn arrows. The Town has used these left-turn flashing yellow arrows elsewhere in the community, which have seen an decrease in vehicular delay.  This has also helped keep drivers more vigilant in their driving habits as well as provided increased flexibility regardingsignal timing.

Cortaro/Cortaro Farms Road is another route used as a detour around the Ina Road construction.  This route too has been problematic and difficult at times for the traveling public 

The staff worked “diligently” with ADOT to retime the traffic signal at the interchange and ADOT created dual left turn lanes to get motorists off I-10 and onto eastbound Cortaro Farms Road. The retiming of this interchange traffic signal is intended to allow drivers spend less time on the off-ramp and allow more time to drivers traveling under the freeway along Cortaro Road.

“It’s not perfect, but it is slowly getting to a solution we can handle, at least for the next 20 months,” Leska said. 

After ADOT completes the construction at the Ina Road interchange, traffic should normalize, and congestion should be reduced significantly at the Orange Grove Rd and Cortaro Road interchanges along I-10.  The Department of Public Works will keep a close eye on the traffic congestion in the area, and focus on working to provide other solutions that help motorists to keep moving.