WICKENBURG, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona authorities are stepping up enforcement on a rural highway known for deadly crashes.
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office is directing its deputies to increase patrols on U.S. Route 93 near the community of Congress, and the state Department of Public Safety in recent months has conducted special enforcement details, abc15.com reported.
The roughly 200 miles (322 kilometers) of U.S. 93 between Wickenburg and Hoover Dam are part of the main travel route between Phoenix and Las Vegas.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Moralez, who grew up around Congress, estimated he has responded to at least 100 bad crashes on U.S. 93 since becoming a deputy nine years ago.
Many involved travelers or truckers who are speeding or passing in prohibited areas, Moralez said.
“They’re not familiar with how narrow the road is and with the general amount of traffic they have on the road,” Moralez said. “Especially at nighttime, it’s very dark out there.”
In 2020, nine people died in crashes between Wickenburg and Wikieup, Arizona, compared with at least 13 in 2021, KNXV reported.
Most of the fatal wrecks, including one that seriously injured a DPS trooper this year, happened on the 30 miles (48 kilometers) of highway that remain two lanes.
“I’ve been with my wife and my daughter, and I’ve been driving the way you should be, and there’s a car in my lane heading my way, and we have to slow it down, go off the road,” said Bagdad resident Daniel Gradillas, who started a Facebook group called US93 AKA “Bloody Alley.”
With nearly 900 followers so far, Gradillas hopes the Facebook page can put pressure on state officials to fast-track widening the two-lane sections to a four-lane divided highway.
The state Department of Transportation plans to widen 5 miles (8 kilometers) of U.S. 93 in 2022 between Wickenburg and Congress. No widening projects have been approved for the other 25 miles (40 kilometers), but transportation workers plan to add centerline rumble strips.
ADOT’s website says the agency “has dedicated nearly half a billion dollars to widening and improving U.S. 93 from Wickenburg to Hoover Dam over the last several years.”
It added: “ADOT’s long-term vision is to transform this highly traveled route into a four-lane divided highway through the entire 200-mile stretch. The U.S. 93 series of projects is a priority for ADOT and has significantly improved our state highway system to move people, goods and services more efficiently.”
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