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Houghton Road Needs Attention by C. West

Houghton Road has over 12,000 cars that travel it daily and yet this road is literally crumbling away, in many places. Some sections of the road have been washed away clear to the solid white line, where deep trenches have been formed. Often, storm conditions may make it difficult to see these trenches, creating a condition where a motorist could easily lose control of their vehicle and risk tipping. Even a dump truck that was brought out to repair a large pothole, on a fair weather day, tipped on the road it was attempting to fix.

Houghton road is also home to two Vail High Schools and is the route for many to two other high schools. This is the road that some of our least experienced drivers travel daily and yet the road design does not allow for even minimal driver error.

True road shoulders will improve safety and enable vehicles to pull off the main lane in case of inclement weather, law enforcement traffic stops, vehicle breakdowns, and to allow emergency vehicles to pass. There are only a few select spots that lend themselves to safely pulling over. The shoulders are temporarily repaired following severe weather, but these repairs are only temporary and they don’t improve over previous conditions.

I was recently struck by what a local member of the Fire Department stated, he said that emergency responders had seen a significant increase in accidents on Houghton Road between I-10 and Sahuarita Road. During storms, Corona frequently becomes an island, all access roads to and from Corona De Tucson flood and close. This may leave emergency responders unable to reach those in need of care, it is also entirely possible that responders may not be able to get them to the appropriate level of life-saving care in time.

The freeway traffic often backs up more than a mile south of one lane I-10 overpass. This takes a 50 mph traffic down to a complete stop.  Many individuals may choose to go around this blockage by taking a left-hand turn headed south from Houghton and turning onto Dawn road, many drivers are rear ended in this location.  My family was nearly broadsided by a vehicle attempting to turn onto Houghton from this road just 1 week ago.

The County Fair and multiple other events held at the fairgrounds presents added challenges to safe traffic on Houghton road.  This section has been improved to allow for another lane turning right into the fairgrounds entrance. While this improves conditions for those turning right, there is still a significant risk to those exiting the fairgrounds and attempting to turn left crossing two busy lanes.

Conditions of the road are not the only thing that makes it such a hazard. The major problem is we have a small rural road that supports many times the traffic density it is designed to handle.  Just as this is a multifaceted problem, so should be the solution. This is truly the only way to come to an effective resolution.  Many suggestions have been presented, including education and road repairs.  I believe Houghton should be made into a four-lane flood resistant highway with a dedicated turn lane to support current and future capacity requirements.

A meeting with Supervisor Christy and other involved government entities is scheduled for February 2nd at 6 pm and is open to the public. The meeting will be located in the Andrada high school common area. To learn more or to get involved, please contact the Santa Rita Foothills Community Association at Coronaassociation@gmail.com or SRFCA.com

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