The Nogales-to-Tucson Commute Just (Legally) Got a Little Faster

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In case you hadn't noticed — and since no one is as attentive toward such minutiae as I, you hadn't — a small facet of a road sign replacement project on Interstate 19 has actually slightly altered the speeds at which you can legally travel.

Since May the Arizona Department of Transportation has been using a $1.6 million federal allocation to replace slightly older upgrade "regulatory, warning, speed limit and some guidance signs" along north- and southbound I-19, according to ADOT spokeswoman Linda Ritter.

While no changes are being made in regards to the long-discussed-but-currently-dead-in-the-water plan to shift the signage from kilometers to miles, placement of some of the new signs has in effect lengthened some stretches where drivers can go 75 mph before having rapidly decelerate to 65 mph.

Previously the "speed break" between the Papago exit to nowhere and the exit for San Xavier Road on northbound I-10 was just north of Papago. Now the first indication you're going too fast and need to quickly cut down to 65 mph comes just before the bridge over the Santa Cruz River. Or, in other terms, a lot closer to where a DPS cruiser could be sitting up near San Xavier.

The same scenario now exists between Canoa Ranch Road and Continental Road on the south end of Green Valley. No such "speed break" changes happened going southbound, so your attempts to flee the country haven't legally become quicker.

So, to sum up: while you can technically go a little faster for a little longer heading up from Nogales, when you do approach these slow-down areas you're more likely to run into some law enforcement heat sooner into your deceleration.

Okay, now back to focusing on things that really matter in life. Like which Happy Hour to go to this evening.

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