On the south side of Tanque Verde Road, just east of Catalina Highway, five curved concrete forms coated with dirt and rocks stand in a circle.

Each of the trough-shaped pieces was cast directly from the Bonanza Wash (the sculpture's earth coating came directly off the bottom of the channel) and positioned to resemble a large vessel.

"You're seeing the impression of the actual wash," said Nancy Cole of the Pima County Transportation Department.

The $170,000, 20-foot-tall sculpture is the public art component of the ongoing Tanque Verde Road widening, scheduled for completion by fall.

The recently completed artwork is a tribute to water, which is the very reason a community developed there in the first place, says a narrative describing the sculpture's concept.

As part of the widening, that wash will be rerouted. Residents who live nearby were sad to see it go, so they wanted a sculpture that would remind them of the landscape, said Sally Krommes of the Tucson Pima Arts Council.

Thomas Sayre - an artist based in Raleigh, N.C., who has completed commissioned works in Boston, San Francisco and Hong Kong - laid rebar directly in the wash, then poured concrete to form the core of each piece. The finished pieces were lifted out with a crane and installed along Tanque Verde just outside The Lakes at Castle Rock, a gated subdivision.

Contact reporter Dale Quinn at dquinn@azstarnet.com or 573-4197.