Efforts are underway to eliminate congestion on Golf Links Road during the busiest times of the day.
During the June 4 Tucson City Council meeting, the council agreed that a study is needed to explore how to make the east to west route a “more efficient vehicle link.”
Councilmembers Paul Cunningham and Richard Fimbres requested the study after noting that morning traffic problems on Golf Links, which carries tens of thousands of vehicles every day, have become somewhat unmanageable.
“Anybody in Tucson who lives on the east side long enough will tell you this story, they’ll tell you the horrors,” Cunningham said at the meeting.
About $10,000 is being paid to the Arizona Department of Transportation to help the council find plausible additions along Golf Links from Houghton Road to Barraza-Aviation Parkway. ADOT should bring back the results in about 90 days.
“The Golf Links Corridor starting at Wilmot all the way to when it transitions to Barraza-Aviation Parkway provides an opportunity to create some type of bypass and shorten the duration of time it takes to travel from the east side to downtown,” Cunningham said.
“We really just want to see whether or not some type of alternative exists where we could manage traffic traveling east to west in a safer and better free flowing manner.”
The process will need input from various stakeholders, including officials from the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
Currently they are on their own path to change traffic at access points to D-M. Officials have set aside money to move heavy truck traffic to Wilmot and Valencia roads instead of the current gate at Swan Road, which has been cited as a problem, according to Cunningham.
The council expects that the recommended improvements could range from least to most expensive. The changes could be as simple as installing adaptive signals that adjust during the busiest times of the day, changing an access route to the Air Force base gate or possibly building a whole new type of road.
This isn’t the first time possible improvements have been looked at along Golf Links. While it’s been documented that the road is an urban arterial route, residents have shot down other proposals that would have connected the road to downtown and on to Interstate 10.
In the 1960s, there were proposals for a route that would have extended a road similar to Golf Links from Kolb Road west to I-10 south of downtown, called the Butterfield Expressway. But Tucson would only get the section of Barraza-Aviation Parkway we have today. Those proposals drew many opponents worried at the time about various issues, from demolished buildings to the environment and people migrating from the city limits, according to Arizona Daily Star archives.
Since the early 2000s, an ADOT and Pima Association of Governments study anticipated that the average daily traffic would grow exponentially along at least part of the corridor from Alvernon Way to Wilmot. Since that time, daily traffic has risen from roughly 53,000 vehicles per day to more recent figures at more than 80,000.
Council members hope that at least some of the recommended improvements come in an efficient and cost-effective way.
“I think they’re some silver linings to this traffic situation that is very manageable,” Cunningham said.
Down the road
Lane closures for I-10 between Ruthrauff and Miracle Mile
Crews will alternate lane closures on westbound I-10 between Miracle Mile and Ruthrauff Road Monday and Wednesday nights.
The final road-striping work will last from 9 p.m. Monday to 5 a.m. Tuesday. Crews will start again at the same time on Wednesday.
I-10 to close at Ina Monday night
Eastbound I-10 will be closed from 10 p.m. Monday until 5 a.m. Tuesday as construction crews install an overhead message sign.
The eastbound I-10 traffic will detour on the frontage road between the Ina Road exit and the on-ramp at Orange Grove Road.
Westbound motorists on Ina and Orange Grove will have no access to eastbound I-10. Drives can use Cortaro, Sunset or Ruthrauff roads as alternates.
I-19 lane, ramp closures at Pima Mine Road
There will be alternating lane closures on Interstate 19 near Pima Mine Road between 7 p.m. Tuesday and midnight Wednesday as crew finish final road-striping work.
The on-ramp from Pima Mine to southbound I-19 will also be closed.
Lane closures set for I-19 near Tubac
Motorists should plan for intermittent lane closures on I-19 in both directions between the Canoa Rance Rest Area and Chavez Siding Road near Tubac on Friday, June 21.
The lane closures will last from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. for pavement preservation work.