The Wickenburg Bypass and Roundabouts became fully operational this past September 14th. A brief progress update includes the fact that lane striping was completed on schedule and no accidents have been reported through October 2nd in either the south or north Roundabout. That’s good news, of course. This is not to say that a few drivers seem to be a bit disoriented, but the traffic is flowing well and everyone seems to be observing the Yield Right of Way signs.
The best news is that traffic congestion has been eliminated on Tegner Street at the junction of US-60 and US-93. The two photos were taken on Friday, October 2nd between 12:00 and 1:00 pm. This is a time when the Las Vegas – Phoenix traffic coincides with local lunchtime drivers and parents who are picking up their children from the elementary school south of West Wickenburg Way.
Figure 1 was taken from the overpass just west of Tegner, next to the Desert Caballeros Western Museum. As you can see, there were only a few cars on Wickenburg Way. The traffic light now seems to favor East-West vehicles with a shorter red light interval.
Figure 1, View from West Wickenburg Way Looking East
Figure 2 was taken a few minutes later from Tegner Street looking south toward the intersection. Before the Bypass became operational it was common to see traffic backed-up beyond Bashas Plaza at this time of day, and the congestion always increased as the afternoon progressed.
Figure 2, Looking South on Tegner
For those who have avoided the downtown area and its shops in the past, you can now experience a quiet, pedestrian friendly environment without diesel fumes!
On a more serious note, Figure 2 illustrates the one thing that local merchants have feared the most: that the Bypass will result in permanently lost business revenue. It is likely true that some folks have avoided downtown during the construction phase; but local residents have also limited their visitations to trips of necessity, such as shopping at Bashas Plaza. Frankly, traffic congestion and noise have long made the downtown an unpleasant place to spend discretionary time. Arguably, the Las Vegas-Phoenix traffic is doing what they always did – getting through Wickenburg as quickly as possible. They are just doing it via the Bypass now.
I prefer to think that the new Bypass has restored a pleasant atmosphere to the historic downtown. It is an ambience that no merchant could have achieved alone, and it is something that can attract visitors to linger. If you are a seasonal visitor to Wickenburg, demonstrate your support by visiting the local shops. Take a stroll, enjoy the area. Have a cup of coffee that doesn’t taste like diesel fumes. You will be pleasantly surprised by the change!
Last 5 posts by Allan Hall
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