Road

Quail Creek Crossing under construction in 2018. It currently runs from Nogales Highway to the Santa Cruz River.

The Sahuarita Town Council has approved eight recommended road related projects to go to the Regional Transportation Authority’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC).

The committee will review submitted recommendations from local jurisdictions and create a draft 20-year RTA plan to transition from the current plan set to expire in 2026.

Though the town is required to submit its recommendations for projects by June 30, there will be ample opportunity for the public to submit input to help shape these projects before they are finalized.

Here’s what you need to know about Sahuarita’s recommended projects and what’s next in the process.

What is the RTA plan?

The RTA plan is a 20-year plan approved by voters in 2006 that uses a half-cent sales tax to fund transportation-related projects throughout Pima County, including Sahuarita.

How did Sahuarita choose and prioritize its current list?

To help determine what transportation projects were most important to residents, the town published a survey in late 2019 on its website. Residents were asked to rank the importance of selected road projects. 

Citizens ranked the Quail Crossing Boulevard project as the top priority, followed by widening Old Nogales Highway and Campbell Avenue. 

Public Works Director Beth Abramovitz was tasked with prioritizing previously identified projects for major streets and routes in town.

“Part of the evaluation of those potential projects is looking at when development will occur," she said. 

What are the recommended projects?

The following list is ranked by the town based on its priority.

1. La Villita Road (Sahuarita Road to Nogales Highway)

This project would include improvements to the existing road as well as a new two-lane road with sidewalks, multi-use lanes and drainage.

Abramovitz said based on the community's strong support of the Sahuarita Town Square catalyst project, this should be the town's top priority for RTA. 

To meet the requirements of a land transfer agreement with Farmers Investment Co.(FICO), who will donate a right of way for this project, it needs to be underway by 2028. 

The Town hopes to see this project begin in period one, taking place in 2026. 

2. El Toro Road (La Canada Drive to La Villita Road)

This project would improve the existing road as well as sections of a new two-lane road with sidewalks, multi-use lands and drainage.

Abramovitz said El Toro Road will be a necessary east and west connector to the Sahuarita Town Square, and they hope to see it begin late in Phase One or early in Phase Two. 

It was ranked by citizens as one of the lowest priorities, but Abramovitz said  citizens had limited information about the town square project at the time of the survey.

"We hadn't had big discussions about the town center yet," she said. "Perhaps if they had known, El Toro would score higher. We want that east and west connection to the site."

3. Quail Crossing Boulevard (Ultimate Buildout) (Old Nogales Higway to Nogales Highway)

This project is a four-lane road with a bridge over the Santa Cruz River, including multi-use lanes, sidewalks and drainage. It would connect the Walmart area to Quail Creek. Currently, the road runs from Nogales Highway to the river.

This project was most important to residents, and Abramovitz said extension to four lanes isn't a necessity now but will be down the line. Though work will begin sooner, the ultimate buildout of Quail Creek won't be completed for at least 15 years. 

4. Pima Mine Road (I-19 to Nogales Highway)

This would widen the road to four lanes and would include multi-use lanes.

As development continues, the need to widen Pima Mine Road will grow. The town would like to see this occur in Phase Two, 2031-2036.

5. Nogales Highway (Calle Valle Verde to Sahuarita Road)

This would widen the road to four lanes.

6. Old Nogales Highway (Continental Road to Nogales Highway)

This would widen the road to four lanes and would include a bridge over the Santa Cruz River.

This will likely be completed by developers, but the town still recommends it be included for consideration by the RTA committee. 

7. Campbell Road (Quail Crossing Boulevard to Sahuarita Road)

This project would extend the two lane road with multi use lanes, sidewalks and drainage.

This will also most likely be completed by developers. 

8. La Canada Drive (South Camino Sueno de Sahuarita to north of El Toro Road)

This would widen the road to four lanes.

Next steps?

Now that the list of projects has been approved, it will be submitted to the CAC, which will review it. 

"This is done without consideration for funding, it's based on needs and once projects are selected then consideration of funding and planning will take place," Abramovitz said. 

RTA also funds "categoricals," which are non-specific types of projects that include preservation and improvements to existing roads. 

In the citizen survey, residents ranked pavement preservation, widening existing roads and new roads as their top categorical projects. 

Projects will go to the voters for approval before anything is finalized. 

Jamie Verwys | 520-547-9732