Truckers Confused by Roundabout Cause Some in Arizona Neighborhood to Feel ‘Trapped’
Flagstaff, AZ — Some residents of a community about ten miles northwest of Flagstaff off Interstate 40 say truckers are causing problems for them thanks to a new roundabout nearby a truck stop.
According to a report from local outlet ABC15, Bellemont residents are frustrated with big rig traffic especially when it snows.
“I’ve been stranded with jack-knifed trucks blocking the road for a long period of time,” Celeste Batchelor told ABC15. “It’s a big serious concern to go to work, get your kids from school, go to the doctor.”
The issue stems from a roundabout installed about six months ago near a Pilot truck stop to ease congestion off of I-40.
However, according to ABC15 reporter Megan Thompson, truckers are getting confused leading to them getting stuck, especially in icy weather.
“ABC15 watched for more than an hour and saw drivers struggling to figure out the area and navigate the tight turns,” Thompson said.
Thompson further reported seeing at least four signs directing traffic, but they were knocked over and on the ground.
Many in the community, like Batchelor, are asking for a second entrance and exit “that does not involve a roundabout.”
Christopher Tressler, an engineer with the Coconino County Public Works Department, told the local outlet he understands the frustration many are feeling, but he doesn’t expect the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) to address the issue any time soon.
“Early on, it was identified that it would be good if we could have a second interchange or a second access to I-40,” Tressler said. “It’s right on the threshold — the size of the community and the population. The average daily traffic doesn’t seem to quite justify the expenditure for ADOT to build a new interchange, but we’re hoping with potential infrastructure dollars that are being released from the federal government that that might create some opportunities for the county to partner with ADOT and the community… to revisit that.”
ADOT declined an interview request with ABC15, but provided a statement which reads in-part:
While we are aware Bellemont-area residents have expressed the desire for more transportation options in a growing community, it is important to note that local jurisdictions like cities and counties, not ADOT, are responsible for land use planning and local zoning decisions that may lead to cumulative impacts on transportation and other surrounding infrastructure.
Additionally, since I-40 is considered a rural interstate highway, traffic interchanges must be a minimum of two miles apart with a preferred four-mile spacing for optimal operation of the highway based on state roadway design guidelines.
A new interchange two miles east of the current one would cost around $30 million and would require Coconino County and other local jurisdictions to fund the construction of new roads and infrastructure both north and south of I-40 to connect the new interchange with the community.
For more on this story, WATCH ABC15’s report below.