Problems on the roads

Pinal Central |

Last Wednesday was a particularly bad day for drivers in Pinal County. Three major collisions left three people dead and three injured. This happened as Pinal residents are voting on whether to add a half cent to the sales tax to build some major roads. While the new roads in the plan would not prevent all accidents, they certainly would help.

One crash, which killed two people and injured another, was on State Route 347 north of Maricopa. Widening that highway is part of the plan, something crucial for many residents of Maricopa who drive into the Valley daily. Although this crash occurred in Maricopa County at Riggs Road, improvement of the Pinal portion of 347 likely would prompt similar work on the other side of the county line.

Another crash, in Coolidge, caused fatal injuries to an Arizona Department of Corrections employee. The van she was driving collided with a semi truck at Bartlett Road and State Route 87. Under the plan, the Coolidge-Florence area would be served by a new major route coming down from U.S. 60 toward Interstate 10.

Another crash on Ironwood Road in San Tan Valley involving three trucks left two people injured. That area also would benefit from major improvements under Propositions 416 and 417.

Obviously, better roads are not a cure-all for traffic problems. But anyone who drives in Pinal these days can see that traffic is a much bigger problem than it used to be. Local governments have done a pretty good job of improving local roads. But some major routes are needed to take traffic off those and move it more efficiently.

Growth in Pinal continues, and some major projects are on the horizon in some of the communities. One or two of those could make transportation a bigger issue. But it is a big issue already. Lost time and slower emergency services are really important.

Some Pinal residents do not favor a new tax, and we can respect their view. However, many will find this small amount to be in their best interest. However voters decide, they should remember to sign their ballots and return them early enough to reach the Elections Office by Nov. 7.