The junction of Oracle and Ina Roads, one of Tucson's busiest intersections, is being studied for reconstruction, with an indirect "Michigan left" turn proposed for east and westbound traffic, and ramped right-turn lanes to move vehicles onto Oracle without delay.
To expand the intersection, Pima County has acquired property on the northeast corner of what is now a Shell gasoline station, according to Rick Ellis, Pima County Department of Transportation engineering division manager.
When the project is completed, northbound traffic onto Oracle moving west from Ina would have a free-turning right lane, without a stop, eventually merging into northbound lanes.
Travel westbound on Ina to northbound on Oracle is seen "as a major backup" now, Ellis said. "Essentially, people will not have to stop on that. There would be a right lane, merging onto Oracle. That's why they bought the gas station."
To make a left turn onto Oracle headed east or westbound on Ina, motorists would have to make a U turn at a light in an elongated intersection. It is an "indirect left. You would go through the intersection, make a U turn at a signal," Ellis said, then head north or south on Oracle.
"You improve the signal operations and cut the delay time by two-thirds," Ellis said.
The city of Tucson is installing a similar intersection at Grant and Oracle roads.
"There are a lot of details I don't know yet," Ellis said. "I personally haven't experienced them. They're to be worked out over the next year."
Oracle is a state highway. The Arizona Department of Transportation has "agreed to go with this design," Ellis said.