Road runner: Tucson road bonds should help keep new RTA projects looking, feeling smooth

2013-02-18T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T11:19:41Z Road runner: Tucson road bonds should help keep new RTA projects looking, feeling smoothBecky Pallack Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

As the first few major Regional Transportation Authority projects are completed, some drivers are enjoying the experience of a perfectly good road.

But we can't help but wonder whether we can afford to maintain these new roads we're buying.

After all, we can't afford to maintain the old ones.

Deferred road maintenance within city limits alone is an $850 million problem, and the RTA plan is a capital plan, with no maintenance money included.

The city's first test will come in a couple of years when projects like the new Houghton Road-Old Vail intersection, completed in 2010, and the new stretch of Speedway between Camino Seco and Houghton, finished last summer, will come due for their first round of regularly scheduled maintenance.

After four to seven years, a well-designed and well-constructed road will need a fog seal, said city Transportation Director Daryl Cole. That type of maintenance helps preserve the road for several years and fixes very minor cracks, he said.

Using the voter-approved Prop. 409 road bonds, Cole said the city can schedule fog sealing for new RTA projects in fiscal year 2018.

The city can't afford not to maintain new RTA projects, Cole said.

The cost to chip seal one mile of a two-lane road costs $42,200, but giving that same mile a mill-and-overlay treatment costs $211,200.

Pima County plans to fog seal its new RTA projects after six to seven years of use, said county Transportation Director Priscilla Cornelio.

The time and money spent correcting drainage problems is also a sort of preventative maintenance. The county would have to spend a lot more clearing storm debris off the roads and paying for water damage than it will have to pay in routine maintenance for the new projects, she said.

RTA projects in Marana will stay looking like new. Town officials are planning to fog seal new projects after one to two years of use. Twin Peaks Road from Linda Vista to Tangerine was sealed last year, and the Twin Peaks interchange-area roads will get sealed by May, said Morris Reyna, of Marana Public Works.

STREETCAR UPDATES

There are two streetcar construction-zone changes you need to know about. Today and Tuesday, Sixth Avenue will be closed at Broadway. Broadway will be down to one lane.

On Wednesday, Congress Street will be closed from Toole Avenue to just west of Fifth Avenue, and it will stay closed for seven weeks.

RTA PROJECT MEETINGS

The RTA is planning three meetings about upcoming projects.

• There's a public hearing on the project to improve Tangerine Road between La Cañada and Interstate 10 at 6 p.m. Feb. 25 at Oro Valley Council Chambers, 11000 N. La Cañada Drive.

• For info about the Valencia-Kolb intersection project, plan to attend a meeting at 5 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Pima Air & Space Museum, 6000 E. Valencia Road.

• To learn more about the project on Broadway from Euclid to Country Club, mark your calendar for a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at Sabbar Shrine Hall, 450 S. Tucson Blvd.

ROAD Q

Eugene Moore, Jeannette Studer and Dianne Nielsen all want to know when Thornydale Road might get repaired or rebuilt north of Cortaro Farms Road.

A: A project to improve Thornydale between Cortaro Farms Road and Linda Vista Boulevard is in Pima County's plans.

"It is a project from the 1997 transportation bond program. The project is estimated to begin in 2017 if all regional funds are available at that time," said Annabelle Valenzuela, Transportation Department spokeswoman.

Send your Road Q questions by email to roadrunner@azstarnet.com or to 4850 S. Park Ave., Tucson, AZ 85714. Please include first and last names.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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