Chandler joins project to make Loop 101 safer SanTan Sun News

Chandler joins project to make Loop 101 safer

February 11th, 2021 SanTan Sun News
Chandler joins project to make Loop 101 safer
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SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

The City of Chandler has entered into a region-wide pilot program that will attempt to improve response to traffic incidents along the Loop 101 Price Road Freeway.

Starting in the next fiscal year, city staff will be working with the Maricopa County Department of Transportation to create pre-approved detour routes that motorists will be able to utilize after an accident is reported on the freeway.

Known as the Regional Emergency Action Coordinating Team, the project will include Chandler and several other agencies that will pool their resources and study how accidents can be better managed along the Loop 101.   

As part of the agreement, the city will assign a Police Department and a Traffic Management Center employee to serve as liaisons for the REACT team. Chandler also will open up its right-of-way regions to outside agencies.

Dana Alviderez, the city’s transportation engineer, said the three-year program should benefit Chandler motorists by possibly reducing commute times after a traffic accident occurs.

“This is to improve safety and security of the incident scenes, avoid secondary crashes, and to minimize congestion for the traveling public,” Alviderez said.

Other components of the partnership include developing traffic signal timing for various closure scenarios and exploring new communication tools for stakeholders responding to a crash on the Loop 101.

The Loop 101 corridor comprises 61 miles stretching from Chandler to Peoria and is often the site of several deadly crashes.

On Jan. 14, an Arizona State University police officer was killed on the Loop 101 after he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed into a highway barrier.

Two Mesa residents died last November on the freeway in Chandler after their pickup collided with a large trailer.

One of the freeway’s biggest hotspots for crashes is the region located between south Scottsdale and north Chandler, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The state agency said Arizona’s dramatic population growth over the last couple decades has significantly affected the freeway’s car volume and the amount of time it takes for authorities to respond to crashes.

“Better processes and systems are needed for traveler information and alerts, response plan coordination among agencies, traffic detours off of and onto the freeway, and restoring the network to full capacity,” ADOT officials wrote in a report on the Loop 101.

A few years ago, ADOT received federal funding to launch the Loop 101 Mobility Project and integrate new technology along various points of the busy freeway.

A component of that project includes using federal funds to finance the multi-jurisdictional program involving Chandler. The city is not committing any funds to the project.

Councilman Matt Orlando said he is excited about the project and hopes it results in notable changes in how accidents impact the city’s motorists.

“The key to this is to stop those cars before they get on the freeway early enough so we don’t exacerbate the problem.” Orlando said.

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