Chandler to study Hunt Highway safety concerns as casino nears

By Ken Sain, | Arizonan 

Hunt Highway is an inviting target for anyone looking to drive fast. 

There are few impediments with only one stop sign between Cooper Road and Val Vista Drive for the highway, which marks the city’s southern border and lots of undeveloped land to the south.

However, the Chandler half is very developed with lots of homes and people who like to go for walks and ride their bikes.

Jason Crampton, city transportation planning manager, said those two things are in conflict and he wants to find out just how big a problem it might be. City Council was expected to approve spending $70,000 for a study to figure that out at its July 14 meeting. That vote came after the deadline for this edition.

Complicating the study is that everything on Hunt Highway is likely to change once the Gila River Casino Santan Mountain opens.

“Traffic speeds are very high and result in some safety issues,” Crampton said. “So yeah, this project is independent of the casino. But now that the casino is coming it does change the project a little bit.”

Crampton said the city planned to take a look at pedestrian and bicyclist safety concerns along the Hunt Highway between Cooper and Val Vista in 2020, before it was announced the Gila River Indian Community intended to build a casino at Gilbert and Hunt Highway at the end of that year.

“Our vehicle speeds on the highway prevent the average person from using the corridor,” said Ryan Peters, the city’s strategic initiatives director. “Additionally, a Gila River Indian Community casino is currently under construction with the potential for future development expansion needs creating changes in traffic patterns that will need to be analyzed when considering bicycle pedestrian improvements, traffic calming and any other potential roadway changes. 

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