La Posada Intersection

The intersection where the new signal will be constructed.

Sahuarita took the next step toward building an intersection with a traffic signal at the entrance of La Posada with the approval of a design contract Monday night. If everything goes according to plan, the intersection will be  finished by the time school starts in the fall – except paving and striping.

The town will pay Kittelson and Associates $57,014 to design a new signalized intersection at Old Nogales Highway/Continental Road and White House Canyon Road/Park Centre Avenue.

The construction was part of La Posada’s annexation agreement with the town, Public Works Director M.J. Dillard said.

The design will include signals, left turn lanes, LED street lighting, pedestrian crossings, landscaping and other improvements, including pavement preservation.

The designers will obtain traffic count data and work with the county, town and utilities to ensure the intersection is addressing the needs of the community, including parents picking up students at nearby Continental School.

Two public stakeholder meetings are planned during the design phase. One will take place after the preliminary plans are drafted so stakeholders, including La Posada and Madera Highlands residents, Continental School and nearby businesses have a chance to chime in.

“We are planning a lot of public outreach,” Dillard said.

She said town employees have already met with La Posada staff.

“One of the things they’ve expressed concern about is that the FICO vehicles often use the intersection at random locations, and they have concerns for their pedestrians and the multi-use path,” she said.

They are also concerned about traffic volume surrounding pick-up and drop-off times at the school, something Dillard said they will be looking at.

She said the intersection will have the latest technology to accommodate the current and future needs of the community, and that they will also take pedestrians and bicycle traffic into consideration during the design process.

The first open house is tentatively set for January, Assistant Town Engineer Beth Abramovitz said. The design plans should be 60 percent complete by the end of January, she said.

The town has to order the components for the traffic signal no later than Feb. 1 to get them in time, Abramovitz said, due to extended wait times for such specialty items and uncertainty with tariffs possibly extending those waiting periods.

The second open house would be in the middle of February, when the design is roughly 75 percent done, with the goal of having the design complete and ready to bid out to contractors by April 4, she said.

If everything goes according to plan, construction will begin June 3, after school is finished for the year.

“We anticipate the signal will be operational by July 26,” she said. That includes the mandated “bag time,” when a signal must be set on a flashing mode while covered in plastic to allow the community to familiarize with the new traffic control system.

Paving operations, including the entire frontage along La Posada, would start after that. Some lanes could be intermittently closed by the time classes begin the first week of August.

Striping will not be finished until the end of September because the asphalt has to cure for 30 days, Abramovitz said.

The council asked town staff to coordinate with Continental School and the eventual contractor to mitigate any delays that might be caused by paving operations.

Andrew Paxton | 520-547-9747

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