WICKENBURG, AZ — The Arizona State Transportation Board has approved safety improvements to US 93 between Wickenburg and Kingman, including widening some of the highway to four lanes and installing centerline rumble strips on most of the two-lane section.
The Arizona State Transportation Board announced the US 93 improvements as part of the Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program. The US 93 projects are slated to begin construction within the next year.
Last month, the ABC15 Investigators showed how crashes have been increasing for years, and fatalities spiked in 2020 on US 93 from Wickenburg to Wikieup.
This year is on track to be even more deadly, with at least eight fatalities on US 93 between Wickenburg and Kingman so far in 2021.
Full Investigation: Deadly Gamble for drivers on US 93 heading to Las Vegas
Four people were killed and one injured during a crash on June 14 near Wikieup.
On June 1, witnesses heading back to the Valley from Las Vegas shared videos of the fire after a deadly, head-on crash about 25 miles from Wickenburg.
On May 20, there was an early morning fatal crash at mile marker 179.
Nearly two months ago, on April 30, two people died in a fiery crash that involved a DPS trooper near mile marker 174.
"This is a very dangerous highway because it's so narrow, especially with those big trucks," motorist Tony Buckley said.
According to the Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program, the Arizona Department of Transportation will add centerline rumble strips from milepost 160 to 181, a 21-mile stretch where we've seen the recent fatal crashes.
"If somebody is going to cross over, and maybe they're drowsy or something like that, they [rumble strips] tend to make a large amount of noise and vibration," said ADOT spokesman Doug Nick. "That will alert the driver that they need to get back in their lane."
The ABC15 Investigators learned the strips are highly effective.
According to a National Cooperative Highway Research Program report, centerline rumble strips can reduce head-on and opposite direction sideswipe collisions by 38 to 50% in rural areas.
"When you have a lot of people coming from the city, going to another city, you've got that boredom that sets in," said Arizona driver Emily Sandbak. "I think a rumble strip is probably a good idea."
Some drivers said those rumble strips only go so far with all the trucks and other traffic. What they say needs to happen is for US 93 to be a four-lane divided highway all the way from Wickenburg to Kingman.
An ADOT spokesman said they are limited by funding. The five-year transportation plan only includes widening five miles of US 93 in the Wickenburg area, which is estimated to cost nearly $55 million.
Meantime, ADOT officials urge drivers to exercise patience, obey the speed limit, and use caution when passing.