/ Modified may 5, 2017 4:44 p.m.

Episode 136: Interstate 11 - Should it Go Through Avra Valley?

Hear input from the state, and an Avra Valley resident; also, extending the RTA and new cell phone laws.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is studying the prospect of adding a new interstate, called I-11, between Nogales and, eventually, Canada.

But the proposal has drawn opposition from Avra Valley residents, the scenic area northwest of Tucson nestled between I-10 and the Tucson mountains.

When the state studies new roadway possibilities, it evaluates environmental impacts, costs and feasibility, said Jay Van Echo, the state's I-11 study manager.

"We look to avoid impacts first off, then we look to minimize the impacts, then we look to mitigate the impacts," Van Echo said.

The Avra Valley impacts would be negative, said Robin Clark, a resident of that area.

“Our neighborhood would be heavily impacted by the increased air, noise and light pollution,” said Robin Clark, who moved to Avra Valley to enjoy the scenic site.

Hear more from the Van Echo and Clark on this episode of Metro Week:

  • I-11 plans: The Arizona Department of Transportation is studying the possibility of building a new interstate, called I-11, from Nogales to Wickenburg. We get an update from the Arizona Department of Transportation’s study manager, Jay Van Echo. The state is accepting comments online, via phone, mail and email.

  • I-11 opposition: Avra Valley residents are largely opposed to the proposed route under study for the I-11 project. Robin Clark explains her opposition. She started an online petition to oppose the routes that could impact Avra Valley, and it has received more than 1,000 signatures.

  • RTA update: The Regional Transportation Authority is a 20-year plan to add lanes and build new roads in the metro area, paid for with a half-cent sales tax in Pima County. The RTA board is discussing the future of the program, and perhaps whether to ask voters to extend it beyond its initial 20-year lifespan. RTA Board Chairman Tom Murphy, who is also Sahuarita’s mayor, explains what's going into the process to decide whether, and when, to ask voters for more years and more money in the plan.

  • Driving with a phone: Pima County, Tucson, Oro Valley and the state, all have different rules about how much a driver can use a phone. Murphy Woodhouse, the transportation reporter for the Arizona Daily Star, breaks down the new rules.

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