The Camino Seco/Wrightstown Road intersection is located on the east side of the Tucson metropolitan area. Both Camino Seco and Wrightstown Road are classified as arterial roads on the City of Tucson’s Major Streets and Routes Map. Camino Seco connects Wrightstown Road to Speedway Boulevard ¾ mile south of the project intersection. Wrightstown Road serves as a connecting arterial between the Pantano Road/Tanque Verde Road/Wrightstown Road intersection and the Harrison Road/Speedway Boulevard intersection.
Camino Seco intersects Wrightstown Road on a curve making it difficult for drivers to see oncoming eastbound traffic and also it is difficult to make a left turn to go westbound on Wrightstown Road. The Wrightstown Ranch subdivision residents have brought restricted sight distance and traffic congestion concerns to the Tucson Department of Transportation’s attention. These issues exist in the immediate area East of the Wrightstown Road and Camino Seco intersection.
As the eastside of the Tucson Metropolitan Area continues to grow, roadway improvements at the Camino Seco/Wrightstown Road intersection will be necessitated. East of the intersection there are three schools located directly on Wrightstown Road. Consequently safety is a concern with the traffic volumes being experienced. Also, access management is a major concern to area residents. Pima Street provides local access to the surrounding neighborhood and another elementary school, west of Camino Seco. The next local access to the neighborhood and to the elementary school is one half mile away. Both the Tucson Unified School District and the surrounding neighborhood have made it clear during the Camino Seco widening planning and design meetings that access to Pima Street must be maintained regardless of what improvements are made at the Wrightstown Road and Camino Seco intersection.
Camino Seco will be widened from a two-lane roadway to a four-lane roadway between Wrightstown Road and Speedway Boulevard, within the next five years. This improvement project includes sidewalks, concrete curbs, landscaping, bike lanes, street lighting and a new underground storm drain system. As a way to improve safety and traffic operations now, a signalized intersection is proposed at the intersection of Camino Seco and Wrightstown Road.
To ease the area resident’s traffic concerns, properly utilize the additional capacity that will be provided on Camino Seco, and improve safety and operations of the area, the improvements at the Camino Seco and Wrightstown Road intersection will be evaluated. Three alternatives are proposed by the City of Tucson Department of Transportation to address the issues identified by the area residents. Two of the proposed alternatives are signalized intersections and one is a roundabout. The following is a description of these alternatives:
Free Right Alternative
This alternative will, as much as possible, utilize the proposed roadway design originally prepared for the Camino Seco: Wrightstown Road to Speedway Boulevard Improvement Project. This alternative preserves the initial proposed design for the intersection with one major improvement. This improvement consists of a free right turn lane for vehicles heading southeast on Wrightstown Road who desire to travel south on Camino Seco. Vehicles will be able to bypass the traffic signal when traveling southbound thus improving traffic operations greatly.
This alternative proposes constructing a roundabout at the intersection of Camino Seco and Wrightstown Road. A roundabout is a circular intersection where traffic flows around a center island. The proposed roundabout will include sidewalks, concrete curbs, landscaping, pedestrian access, street lighting, and an underground storm drain system. In addition, the proposed roundabout will incorporate a free right movement for eastbound traffic from northbound Camino Seco and southbound traffic from eastbound Wrightstown Road thus improving traffic operations at the roundabout.
Wrightstown Disconnect Alternative
This alternative will involve the reconfiguration of the intersection by connecting the west leg of Wrightstown Road and the south leg of Camino Seco as the through street, with the east leg of Wrightstown intersecting as a T intersection. The goal of this alternative is to maximize capacity with the pending improvements (widening the roadway from a two-lane section to a four-lane section) and increase the speed limit from 25 mph to 35 mph on Camino Seco. This will allow Camino Seco to serve as a major street while traffic on the east leg of Wrightstown Road will be reduced.
The alternatives will be evaluated through a planning process that will involve public participation. Each alternative will be available for inspection and questions will be answered at a design Open House. The desired alternative will be selected based on the following criteria:
- Traffic Safety
- Traffic Operation
- Intersection Capacity
- Access Management (Pima Street)
- Construction Costs
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Access and Safety
- Right-of-way Acquisitions
Upon completion of the alternative analysis, an alternative will be selected and final construction documents will be developed. Construction is expected to begin in 2009, pending on utility and right-of-way clearances.
Project Update-Free Right Alternative Selected
The Free Right Turn has been selected over the other alternatives investigated as part of this project. Of the three design alternatives, only the free right turn met most project design objectives.
Discussion of objectives and traffic analysis details may be found in the Final Design Concept Report for Camino Seco and Wrightstown Road .
A design open house meeting will be held as the design progresses in 2009. Project updates shall also be posted from time to time to keep everyone up to date on the design progress and expected construction start time frame.