Interstate 19

Last updated

I-19 (AZ).svg

Interstate 19
Route information
Maintained by ADOT
Length102.08 km [1] (63.43 mi)
Major junctions
South endBusiness Loop 19.svg I-19 BL in Nogales
North endI-10.svg I-10 in Tucson
Counties Santa Cruz, Pima
Highway system
I-17.svg I-17 SR 24 Arizona 24.svg

Interstate 19 (I-19) is a north–south Interstate Highway located entirely within the U.S. state of Arizona. I-19 travels from Nogales, roughly 300 feet (91 m) from the Mexican border, to Tucson, at I-10. The highway also travels through the cities of Rio Rico, Green Valley, and Sahuarita.

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

Arizona state of the United States of America

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

Nogales, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Nogales is a city in Santa Cruz County, Arizona. The population was 20,837 at the 2010 census and estimated 20,407 in 2014. Nogales forms part of the larger Tucson-Nogales combined statistical area, with a total population of 1,027,683 as of the 2010 Census. The city is the county seat of Santa Cruz County.


Having a total length of just over 63 miles (101 km), I-19 is the sixth-shortest primary (two-digit) Interstate Highway in the contiguous 48 states, where only I-97, I-86 (western), I-14, I-11 and I-2 are shorter.

Interstate 97 (I-97) is a part of the Interstate Highway System that runs entirely within Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The intrastate Interstate runs 17.62 miles (28.36 km) from U.S. Route 50 (US 50) and US 301 in Parole near Annapolis north to I-695 and I-895 in Brooklyn Park near Baltimore. The Interstate is the primary highway between Baltimore and Annapolis. I‑97 connects Annapolis with Baltimore–Washington International Airport and links the northern Anne Arundel County communities of Crownsville, Millersville, Severna Park, Glen Burnie, and Ferndale. It is the second shortest primary Interstate Highway after I-87 in North Carolina.

Interstate 86 (I-86) is an east–west intrastate Interstate Highway located entirely within the state of Idaho. It runs approximately 63 miles (101 km) from an intersection with I-84 east of Declo in rural Cassia County, to an intersection with I-15 in Chubbuck, just north of Pocatello. The highway is part of the main route from Boise and Twin Falls to Idaho Falls and the upper Snake River region.

Interstate 14 (I-14), also known as the "14th Amendment Highway", the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway and the Central Texas Corridor, is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Texas that follows U.S. Highway 190 (US 190). The highway was named for the 14th Amendment. In 2005, I-14 was planned to have a western terminus at Natchez, Mississippi, extending east through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, before ending at Augusta, Georgia or North Augusta, South Carolina. Advocates of the Gulf-Coast Strategic Highway proposed extending I-14 to I-10 near Fort Stockton and the junction of US 277 and I-10 near Sonora, Texas.

While the highway is short, it is a very important corridor, serving as a fast route from Tucson and Phoenix (via I-10) to the Mexican border. The highway is a portion of the United States section of the CANAMEX Corridor, a trade corridor that stretches north from Mexico across the United States to the Canadian province of Alberta.

The CANAMEX corridor is a series of improvements to freeways and other transportation infrastructure linking Canada to Mexico through the United States. The corridor was established under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Currently the corridor is defined by a series of highways. However, the corridor is also proposed for use by railroads and fiber optic telecommunications infrastructure.

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the tenth most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

Alberta Province of Canada

Alberta is a western province of Canada. With an estimated population of 4,067,175 as of 2016 census, it is Canada's fourth most populous province and the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces. Its area is about 660,000 square kilometres (250,000 sq mi). Alberta and its neighbour Saskatchewan were districts of the Northwest Territories until they were established as provinces on September 1, 1905. The premier is Jason Kenney as of April 30, 2019.

Route description

In Nogales, the southern terminus of I-19 is at West Crawford Street, adjacent to the international port of entry, and southbound travelers can continue into Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, via state-maintained surface roads, and connect with Mexico Federal Highway 15 either to the south or west of Nogales, Sonora. [2]

Nogales, Sonora City in Sonora, Mexico

Heroica Nogales, more commonly known as Nogales, is a city and the county seat of the Municipality of Nogales. It is located on the northern border of the Mexican state of Sonora. The city is abutted on its north by the city of Nogales, Arizona, across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Starting from the southern terminus at kilometer post 0, I-19 initially heads briefly south then west on surface streets, navigating its way through the town of Nogales for 0.2 miles (0.32 km) before becoming an Interstate–grade freeway and making the turn to head north toward Tucson. It has interchanges with two other state highways near the southern end of the route, State Route 189 (SR 189) at exit 4 and SR 289 at exit 12. The interchange with SR 189 at exit 4 both serves to funnel traffic so as to bypass around Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora, for travelers bound to or from Hermosillo or Mexico City, and provides for the continuous flow of freight and truck traffic through the larger Mariposa Port of Entry to Highway 15, which has its northern terminus at the US–Mexico border with SR 189 and its southern terminus 2,179 kilometers (1,354 mi) away in Mexico City. [3] After exiting Nogales to the north, I-19 passes near and around a series of sparsely-populated towns and retirement communities along the banks of the Santa Cruz River, including Rio Rico, Tubac, Amado, Green Valley, and Sahuarita. For several miles near Amado and Green Valley, the eastward view from I-19 provides scenic views of Madera Canyon and the Santa Rita Mountains in the Coronado National Forest. [2]

Standards for Interstate Highways in the United States are defined by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in the publication A Policy on Design Standards: Interstate System. For a certain highway to be considered an Interstate Highway, it must meet these construction requirements or obtain a waiver from the Federal Highway Administration.

State Route 189 is a highway in Santa Cruz County, Arizona that runs from its junction with Interstate 19 to the US-Mexico Border. It is a north–south route for its entirety.

Arizona State Route 289 highway in Arizona

State Route 289 is a highway in Santa Cruz County, Arizona that runs from its junction with Interstate 19 to the north of Nogales, to Peña Blanca Lake. It is an east–west route.

I-19 northbound at the I-10 interchange; the downtown Tucson skyline can be seen on the left. I-19 northbound at I-10 junction.jpg
I-19 northbound at the I-10 interchange; the downtown Tucson skyline can be seen on the left.

Just before entering Tucson, I-19 passes through the eastern section of the San Xavier Indian Reservation where it makes its only crossing of the Santa Cruz River. As I-19 enters the Tucson city limits, it has an interchange with SR 86 at exit 99 before reaching its northern terminus at an interchange with I-10. [2]

Tucson, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Tucson is a city and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States, and home to the University of Arizona. The 2010 United States Census put the population at 520,116, while the 2015 estimated population of the entire Tucson metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was 980,263. The Tucson MSA forms part of the larger Tucson-Nogales combined statistical area (CSA), with a total population of 1,010,025 as of the 2010 Census. Tucson is the second-largest populated city in Arizona behind Phoenix, both of which anchor the Arizona Sun Corridor. The city is 108 miles (174 km) southeast of Phoenix and 60 mi (97 km) north of the U.S.–Mexico border. Tucson is the 33rd largest city and the 58th largest metropolitan area in the United States (2014).

The San Xavier Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation of the Tohono O’odham Nation located near Tucson, Arizona, in the Sonoran Desert.The San Xavier Reservation lies in the southwestern part of the Tucson metropolitan area and consists of 111.543 sq mi (288.895 km²) of land area, about 2.5 percent of the Tohono O’odham Nation. It had a 2000 census resident population of 2,053 persons, or 19 percent of the Tohono O’odham population.

Santa Cruz River (Arizona) river in the United States of America

The Santa Cruz River is a river in Southern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico. It is approximately 184 miles (296 km) long.

Nearly the entire route of I-19 follows, or is adjacent to, the former routing of US 89 and the Santa Cruz River, which flows northward from Mexico, through Tucson and usually disperses into the desert between Marana and the Gila River, southeast of Phoenix. Most of the time, much of the river is dry, but heavy storms can cause it to overflow its banks, flooding farmland before reaching the Gila River.


Metric-unit advance guide sign on I-19, installed as part of the Valencia Road interchange renovation Metric Interstate 19.jpg
Metric-unit advance guide sign on I-19, installed as part of the Valencia Road interchange renovation

I-19 is unique among US Interstates, because signed distances are given in meters (hundreds or thousands as distance-to-exit indications) or kilometers (as distance-to-destination indications), and not miles. However, the speed limit signs give speeds in miles per hour. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), metric signs were originally placed because of the push toward the metric system in the United States at the time of the original construction of the highway. [4]

I-19 had originally been signed as it was constructed, in a series of small signing contracts that used customary units. [5] In 1980, Arizona DOT awarded a single contract to install new signs which used metric units, to overlay English-unit expressions on some existing signs with metric-unit expressions, to install kilometerposts, and to provide bilingual signing in select locations. The signing scheme used in 1980 provided explicit units on advance guide signs, but not on interchange sequence signs or post-interchange confirmation (distance) signs.

The expressions on advance guide signs were of the form "2 km" for distances over 1 kilometer (0.62 mi) and "500 m" for distances under 1 kilometer (0.62 mi), with no provision for fractional kilometrages. On advance guide signs, the metric unit expressions "km" and "m" were placed on the baseline where "MILES" would otherwise have gone but were sized so that their lowercase loop height matched the uppercase letter height of "MILES" on customary-unit signs.

The exception was a handful of advance guide signs for the SR 86 (Ajo Way) exit, which used "KM" (in uppercase, contrary to SI nomenclature) on the same baseline and at the same letter height as "MILES." The 1980 signing plans also provided design details for speed limit and advisory speed signs using metric units, with the limit values enclosed in a red circle on the speed limit sign and a black circle on the yellow-background advisory signs. These speed signs all had explicit units, with "km/h" below the circle enclosing the limit value. However, the advisory signs were cancelled by change order and not installed.

Had the metric speed limit sign been installed, the signed speed limit on I-19 would have been 88 kilometers per hour (54.7 mph), which is a close soft-conversion of the then-existing 55 miles per hour (88.5 km/h) national maximum speed limit. Information signs, to three distinct designs, were also placed at various locations on or near I-19 to advise motorists that the highway was signed in metric. Notwithstanding the metric legends, the signing plans were dimensioned entirely in feet and inches. [6]

In 1999, Arizona DOT awarded two contracts (administered as a single construction project) to renew the signs along the full length of I-19. The general approach toward metric signing differed from that taken in 1980. Explicit units were given not just on advance guide signs, but also on interchange sequence signs, post-interchange confirmation signs, and community interchange signs (the last-listed had not been used in 1980). On the distance signs, "km" appeared after each kilometer measurement except when one or more of the distances was a fractional kilometer.

In such cases, all the distances were given in meters with "meters" (written out in full, not "m") after each distance value. On distance signs in general, "km" or "meters" appeared on the same baseline and with the same letter height as the distance values, while advance guide signs were formatted as in 1980. Since a typical Arizona DOT freeway guide sign rehabilitation contract also replaces surface road signing near those roads' interchanges with the freeway, metric-unit signs also appeared on local roads near I-19, giving distances in kilometers to tourist attractions such as Mission San Xavier del Bac.

As was the case in 1980, the signing plans were dimensioned in feet and inches. [7] However, a number of signs near the Valencia Road interchange were replaced or amended when it was converted from a partial cloverleaf to a single-point urban interchange in 2000. One of these signs has a fractional kilometrage greater than 1 kilometer (0.62 mi), rendered as "1500 m," while others use "m" rather than "meters" as the unit expression. Metric unit expressions on the advance guide signs installed or modified as part of this contract appear on the same baseline as the metric values, rather than on a raised baseline as on other I-19 advance guide signs. Again, the plans were dimensioned in feet and inches. [8]

Citing motorist confusion arising from the metric signs on I-19, Arizona DOT's Tucson district announced that new signs on I-19 would use United States customary units. To avoid the cost of replacing the metric signs all at once, signs would be replaced in specific areas of the freeway during construction projects in those areas. [9] New signs were put into place between Exit 99 (Ajo Way) and Exit 101 (I-10) in 2004 after the completion of the new Interstate 10–Interstate 19 interchange.

As of 2010, the remainder of the project has been stalled due to local opposition, particularly from businesses that would have to change their directions. [10]

A recent reconstruction project at the Interstate's northern terminus with I-10 in Tucson (at the interchange commonly called the Crossing) was begun in 2002 and completed in August 2004. [11]


The first sections of Interstate 19 to be opened to traffic were a three-mile (4.8 km) stub, from I-10 to Valencia Road, in 1962 and a two-mile (3.2 km) stretch in Green Valley in 1963. The freeway between Rio Rico and Nogales, Arizona was completed in 1974. The major section between Green Valley and Rio Rico was finished in 1978. The official completion date of the I-19 segment between Tucson (km 100) and Green Valley (actually Helmet Peak Road at km 75) was February 12, 1972. A 1978 project report for the Arizona Department of Transportation lists entire I-19 project as "completed", which includes segments between Green Valley and Nogales, Arizona.


I-19 is a very heavily traveled corridor in the Tucson metro area. The freeway is currently two lanes in both directions in all parts besides where it meets with I-10, where it is four lanes. Plans call to expand the freeway to up to five lanes in each direction by 2030 from the crossing with I-10 to San Xavier Road. [12] Current plans call for the widening from Irvington to Ajo, bringing the freeway to three lanes in each direction. [13] I-19 is also part of the proposed I-11 corridor. [14]

Exit list

CountyLocationkm [1] miExitDestinationsNotes
Santa Cruz Nogales 0.000.00Business Loop 19.svg I-19 BL (Grand Avenue) / Crawford Street ADOT defines this intersection as southern terminus; former US 89  / SR 93
0.280.17West Street At-grade intersection; south end of freeway; road continues as Compound Street
0.710.441AInternational StreetSouthbound exit only
1.901.181BWestern AvenueSigned as exit 1 northbound
4.762.964Arizona 189.svg SR 189 (Mariposa Road)
8.555.318Business Loop 19.svg I-19 BL (Grand Avenue)Southbound left exit and northbound entrance; former US 89  / SR 93
Rio Rico 12.427.7212Arizona 289.svg SR 289 (Ruby Road)
17.5310.8917Rio Rico Drive / Yavapai Drive
22.4513.9522Peck Canyon Road
25.1715.6425Palo Parado Road
29.3418.2329 Tumacacori-Carmen Tumacácori National Historical Park
34.9421.7134 Tubac
40.1024.9240Chavez Siding Road
42.8426.6242Agua Linda Road
48.3930.0748Arivaca Road
Pima Green Valley 56.2634.9656Canoa Road
63.6339.5463Continental Road
65.7440.8565Esperanza Boulevard
Sahuarita 69.7243.3269Duval Mine RoadFormer US 89  / SR 93; Titan Missile Museum
75.4846.9075Sahuarita Road
80.3249.9180Pima Mine RoadDesert Diamond Casino, Tohono O'odham Nation
87.9854.6787Papago RoadDead end, U-turn only
92.0457.1992 San Xavier RoadAccess to Mission San Xavier del Bac
Tucson 95.1059.0995Airport Sign.svg Valencia Road Tucson Tucson International Airport
98.3561.1198Irvington Road
99.9762.1299Arizona 86.svg SR 86 (Ajo Way)
101.6363.15101I-10.svg I-10 east El Paso Northbound exit and southbound entrance; I-10 exit 260
101.8463.2810229th Street / 22nd Street / Silverlake Road / Starr Pass BoulevardNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
102.0863.43I-10.svg I-10 west Phoenix Northern terminus; I-10 exit 260
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Business route

Business Loop 19.svg

Interstate 19 Business
Location Nogales
Length5.88 mi [1] (9.46 km)

Interstate 19 has one business route which begins at the Mexican border in Nogales near the southern end of the Interstate. I-19 Business follows Grand Avenue in Nogales and has intersections with SR 82 and SR 189 before terminating at I-19 just north of Nogales. The route follows the former alignment of US 89 and SR 93 , back when both highways traversed through southern Arizona.

Major intersections
The entire route is in Santa Cruz County.

Locationmi [1] kmDestinationsNotes
Nogales 0.000.00Carretera federal 15.svg Fed. 15 southInternational border with Mexico; southern terminus; continues south as Mexican Federal Highway 15
0.140.23I-19.svg To I-19 north (Crawford Street) ADOT defines this intersection as southern terminus of I-19
1.662.67Arizona 82.svg SR 82 east (Patagonia Highway) Patagonia
2.774.46Arizona 189.svg SR 189 south (Mariposa Road)
5.889.46I-19.svg I-19 northNorthern terminus; no access to I-19 south
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Staff (January 6, 2009). "2007 ADOT Highway Log" (PDF). Arizona Department of Transportation. pp. 137–45. Retrieved January 13, 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 Google (February 15, 2008). "Overview Map of I-19" (Map). Google Maps . Google. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
  3. Calculate your route (Map). Michelin. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  4. Holley, Denise (May 14, 2009). "ADOT Defends Replacing Metric Signs along I-19". Nogales International. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
  5. One example of such a contract was Arizona federal-aid project I-19-1(65), covering I-19 between its Nogales terminus and the Otero TI (title sheet signed August 7, 1970).
  6. Construction plans for Arizona federal-aid project I-19-1(81) (title sheet signed January 17, 1980).
  7. Construction plans for Arizona federal-aid projects NH-19-1(110) (Arizona DOT TRACS H260701C) and NH-19-1(116) (TRACS H260702C) (most sheets sealed March 1997).
  8. Construction plans for Arizona federal-aid project ACNH-19-1(127) (TRACS H260901C) (most sheets sealed June 1999).
  9. Cañizo, Susanna (January 19, 2004). "Some I-19 Metric Signs Going". Arizona Daily Star . Tucson, AZ. Archived from the original on February 23, 2005. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
  10. Lacey, Mark (September 14, 2010). "Metric Interstate Divides Arizonans". The New York Times . Retrieved September 14, 2010.
  11. Staff. "Home Page". The Crossing: I-10/I-19 Interchange. Arizona Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on February 7, 2005. Retrieved November 27, 2011.
  13. Arizona Department of Transportation. "Interstate 19: Ajo Way Traffic Interchange". Arizona Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 25, 2014.
  14. ADOT Media Relations (December 4, 2015). "Interstate 11 receives designation in federal transportation funding bill" (Press release). Arizona Department of Transportation. Retrieved December 7, 2015. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act, formally designates Interstate 11 throughout Arizona. It states that the I-11 corridor will generally follow Interstate 19 from Nogales to Tucson, Interstate 10 from Tucson to Phoenix, and US 93 from Wickenburg to the Nevada state line. From there, the Interstate 11 corridor extends north through Nevada, and is designated as an interstate highway north of Las Vegas, through Reno, connecting to Interstate 80.

Route map:

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