Road Runner: Wheels starting to turn on five-year road project

2013-12-23T00:00:00Z 2013-12-23T10:58:06Z Road Runner: Wheels starting to turn on five-year road projectBy Joe Ferguson Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

There’ll be a huge IOU under the Christmas tree this year, but for tens of thousands of commuters it will be worth the wait.

The delayed gift won’t be coming from Santa Claus anyway — it will be coming from the merry little elves serving on the city’s Bond Oversight Commission.

Next month, the group will take its first long look at a naughty-and-nice list of Tucson-area neighborhood streets and roads as it considers how best to spend roughly $3 million in bond funds over the next six months, as part of the voter-approved Prop. 409.

The five-year, $100 million bond project will set aside $15 million for neighborhood streets, with the rest going to major streets.

Unless your morning commute is only from the kitchen to the spare bedroom that doubles as a home office, your drive to work, pick up groceries, go to the gym or see a movie likely crosses at least one of Tucson’s many crumbling roads.

The $3 million present next year is more than likely the only way most streets inside the city will get fixed.

While they take a toll on auto suspension systems, tires and your mood, most residential streets simply do not pose a serious safety hazard and are too expensive to fix given the city’s limited funds.

The latest estimate from the Pima Association of Governments is that 52 percent of roads in Pima County are in poor condition.

Which residential and other streets will be fixed is still up in the air.

The commission is expected to review a long list of streets, complete with the projected cost to repair them, during its meeting in January.

Those wondering why it has taken the commission so long to come to this decision should be thankful they didn’t have to sit in on the past six months of their meetings, which have been filled with PowerPoint presentations on how streets are built and funded as well as the engineering principles behind how each proposed fix works and how long it will last under real world conditions.

And you thought Santa’s elves worked hard.

Down the Road

Sun Tran will operate all of its regular bus lines on a Sunday schedule on Wednesday in observance of the Christmas holiday. There will be no express service on the holiday.

The transit line’s Sun Shuttle will not operate on Christmas Day, except dial-a-ride service in Oro Valley, which will offer holiday service from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for ADA-qualified passengers only.

Sun Tran will also continue the holiday tradition of providing free shuttle service to the Tucson Convention Center for the Salvation Army’s Annual Christmas Dinner between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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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