The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas Celebrates Groundbreaking in Nogales
NOGALES, AZ - Land is one of the most integral aspects of the produce business, and as such, state government often works in partnership with growers and associations in order to fortify the land we require to get the job done. The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas (FPAA) along with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and organizations from across the state recently celebrated the groundbreaking of a massive overhaul to State Route 189 in Nogales, Arizona. At an event on March 4, almost 200 people came together to celebrate this $134 million investment for Arizona.
“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,” said Lance Jungmeyer, President. “This project reduces transit time from the port of entry to local warehouses, giving companies a valuable incentive to locate their operations in Nogales.”
SR 189, also known as Mariposa Road, is the main thoroughfare for trucks crossing the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales and heading northbound on I-19 to area warehouses. According to a press release, the funding package leverages state, federal, City, and County funding that make up the entire $134 million price tag.
“This is a project we have been working on for many years. It is exciting to see this come to fruition especially since this is one of the largest transportation improvement projects in our state,” said Scott Vandervoet, Chairman and President of Vandervoet & Associates. “The benefit this will bring to the produce industry is hugely important as we strive to maintain our competitive advantages.”
The City of Nogales and Santa Cruz County are committing approximately $45 million over the course of several years from their share of a fee paid by produce trucks crossing the border. The State Legislature committed $25 million of general fund money to this project. The road is also recognized as vital on a Federal level, and the project received an investment of $25 million through the award of a Federal Tiger Grant.
More than 2,000 trucks a day use this route, and the improvements should save more than 10 minutes per northbound truck, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. “This is huge systems savings. It reduces emissions and makes the whole supply chain more efficient,” Jungmeyer added.
The project will fund important enhancements to the entire length of SR 189 and will also construct a flyover ramp connecting SR 189 to I-19, which eliminates stoplights and left-hand turns that currently hamper movement of heavy trucks onto the interstate.
“We are excited about the positive benefits this will bring to our members in the form of faster, safer, more reliable deliveries to their warehouses,” Jungmeyer continued. “Ultimately this is major win for our customers and the end consumer because we will have faster deliveries of the fresh, high-quality produce that Nogales is known for.”
The project is also designed as a crucial safety measure by separating the ingress and egress of local high school traffic from the intersection where it meets with the commercial traffic on SR 189.
“We know that better roads mean a better future for Arizona,” said Governor Ducey in a release from the Arizona Department of Transportation. “The improvements along State Route 189 will improve safety, enhance trade, and foster an even stronger relationship with our neighbors in Mexico. With record trade already with Mexico, my thanks to the Arizona Department of Transportation, our partners in Mexico, and everyone working to improve our infrastructure and attract even more trade through our ports.”
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