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Nogales truck crossings hit record high

By
Tad Thompson

In late January, the Mariposa Land Port of Entry in Nogales, AZ, hit a record of 1,900 trucks arriving from Mexico.

Allison Moore, vice president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, said crossing numbers have recently risen into the 1,700- and 1,800-truck range, but the 1,900-truck level was a new high. While most of these trucks pulled trailers of produce, the numbers also involved an unknown number of manufactured goods and empties.

Through ongoing cooperation with local, county, state and federal agencies, the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas has contributed on many fronts to expediting the produce trade through Mariposa, Moore said.

This includes new technology, such as new scanners to expedite port inspections.

FPAA has played a leading role in creating a critically important commercial traffic upgrade of state highway 189 from Mariposa to Interstate 19. This expanded roadway will expedite produce to Nogales and nearby Rio Rico produce warehouses. Stop lights and local city traffic on 189 are notorious for ensnarling commercial truck traffic.

“We have been planning for these things. It pays off,” Moore said. “Nogales is very efficient and has very effective ways of doing business. It’s geared to be a very positive place to do business.”

Moore noted efficiency comes in part from having the area’s produce warehouses within ten minutes of one another.

On March 4, 2020, when ground was broken to begin the overhaul of SR189, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey described this as “a $134 million project to improve mobility and safety on a 3.75-mile Nogales highway.”

Moore credits the Arizona Department of Transportation for being very instrumental in cooperating to make the critically important highway improvement.

Moore said the industry is cooperating with engineers in timing construction to avoid the heaviest volume of produce traffic.

“I don’t think there have been many problems. If there were traffic issues, we would hear about it!” Moore noted.

The bypass is to be completed by fall 2021.

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