Arizona’s State Transportation Board approved plans to widen two-lane sections of US 93, the main highway between Phoenix and Las Vegas, as part of its five-year construction program.
Over the past year, the ABC15 Investigators have been reporting on the dangers of this highway, especially head-on collisions in two-lane sections and an overall increase in crashes.
“There are folks out there that are not very good drivers and don't know how to pass properly or don't show the respect that they should when they're passing and are making fatal errors,” said Jeff Hawkins, president of the Arizona State Troopers Association.
The worst sections for crashes have been northwest of Wickenburg and near the small Yavapai County town of Congress. Congress’s fire chief said drivers’ speed also plays a factor in crashes.
“I was just out there last week and had people run around me,” Chief Virgil Suitor said. “I’m running 70-75, and they're going around.”
Friday, the State Transportation Board approved a statewide five-year construction program including multiple projects to widen US 93. The projects would start between fiscal year 2024 and 2027.
“It’s encouraging that they're taking the seriousness of what's going on out there, putting it to the forefront,” Hawkins said.
When the planned projects are done, approximately 20 more miles of highway near Congress and Wickenburg will be four-lane, divided highway. Just seven miles of two-lane highway will be left in that area. For all of US 93 in Arizona, 23 miles of two-lane highway would remain.
“The construction comes with its own challenge,” said Battalion Chief Mike Love with WVFD-Bagdad Fire Department. “There will still be some work to do, but improvements are greatly needed, so we're looking forward to it.”
The first responders are looking forward to a day when there are fewer emergency lights and sirens down US 93 and more families and truckers are getting safely to their destinations.