The Main Stream

Oct 11, 2012 1:55 AM by Tom McNamara

Tucson Transportation Department working to relieve traffic mess on the east side

- When was the last time making a left-turn made you livid?
It seems that changes to a major Tucson intersection are driving some drivers mad.

The scene of the stress is Sabino Canyon Road at Tanque Verde. The city removed one of three left-turn lanes on Sabino Canyon southbound leaving only two so at evening rush hour it takes more time to go left on to Tanque Verde.

"This intersection here, it's really been backed-up since they redone it. It's worse than what it ever has been," says driver Clark Wilson.

Bev Lunquist, another driver in the area, agrees, "Take into consideration how much traffic goes through there and I think you guys will come to the conclusion it might need a little adjustment."

Drivers hoping to turn left were backing-up for about a mile, and this was causing more impatient motorists to make bad moves.

"Right now we've got drivers making unsafe maneuvers, coming out of the left-turn lane and trying to get back in closer to the intersection," explains Joe Chase, Project Director with City of Tucson.

Why did the city change lanes in the first place? It's part of a $3 million project to extend Sabino Canyon to Kolb.

City officials say they thought retiming the traffic signals there would avoid backups but they were not satisfied with the results especially during the afternoon peak time.

Drivers will get their third left-turn lane back but only until 2014 when the extension project is finished. Two left lanes will allow for additional southbound through-lanes and that should produce an efficient flow of traffic.

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