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Road Runner: Major Broadway widening project is getting started soon
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Road runner

Road Runner: Major Broadway widening project is getting started soon

By next week, construction crews will start the 20-month Broadway widening project.

It’s an effort to make driving, riding a bike and walking more efficient and safer near downtown.

Construction crews will widen 2 miles of East Broadway to six lanes from Euclid Avenue and Country Club Road.

Bike lanes are being widened from 3 feet to 5 feet.

There’ll be continuous sidewalks on both sides of Broadway, and High-Intensity Activated Crosswalks.

The nearly $72 million project will serve as a “gateway to downtown Tucson and a major link to the Barraza-Aviation Parkway, Downtown Links and Interstate 10,” according to the Tucson Department of Transportation.

It’s funded with $42 million from the voter-approved Regional Transportation Authority, $25 million from the 1997 Pima County Transportation Bond Improvement Plan, $3 million from the city of Tucson and $1.3 million from Pima County.

Five-phase project

TDOT selected Ashton Contractors and Engineers to complete the project. There’s a penalty if the project exceeds the 20-month completion window.

Here’s how Chris Rogers, the company’s president, described the project’s five phases during a public meeting last week:

  • Phase 1: For six months, crews will be working between Fremont and Highland avenues and Warren and Campbell avenues to widen Broadway, pushing traffic to the south side of the street. This will free up space to work on Broadway’s north side during Phase 2.
  • Phase 2: Crews will install an improved storm-drain system from Campbell to Country Club, a major part of the job.

Crews will start at the northeast corner of Euclid Avenue and work to the east along Broadway. This phase will require deep excavation and will take about 10 months to complete, Rogers said. Traffic will be reduced to three lanes, with a turn lane for motorists in both directions on Broadway.

Phase 3: Once the drainage improvements are done, crews will begin work on the south side of Broadway, a six- to eight-month time frame.

Phases 4 and 5: The final touches include installing medians for turning vehicles, landscaping and public art. This should take about four months.

Rogers noted that work in the phases can overlap.

Here are some topics and questions that were raised during last week’s presentation:

  • What about bicyclists and pedestrians? There will be no access to bike lanes. Signage will notify bicyclists. “The way that the roadway is, there is barely enough (room) to get three lanes of roadway traffic,” Rogers said.

Pedestrian access will be maintained on only one side of Broadway during the project. It’ll switch sides depending on specific work that’s being done.

  • What about business access?

Access to businesses will be maintained throughout the project, Rogers said. Business-access signs will be up in the construction area. Businesses with alleyway or rear parking are encouraged to still have parking in those areas.

  • What about bus stops?

Crews will be maintaining bus stops where there are safe and ADA accessible stops. There will be proper signage for any stops that need to be moved temporarily.

  • What about side-street closures? Expect side streets to progressively close as crews work from west to east. Side streets on the north side will be closed first for the drain-system installation. Major streets such as Euclid, Campbell and Country Club will stay open.

What about access for University of Arizona students? There will be attempts to limit closures on Highland Avenue, which leads directly to the main campus. UA classes resumed Jan. 15.

What time will crews work? During the winter, residents will see crews working from about 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. That will change to 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or later) during the summer.

Down the Road

Four-month project to close section of La Cholla in Oro Valley: North La Cholla Boulevard will be closed Jan. 27 through traffic between West Lambert Lane and West Overton Road — about 1.5 miles — for an improvement project until April 22.

The project includes widening the road to four lanes, multiuse paths and traffic signals.

Access to homes, churches and other facilities will be maintained, but pedestrians and bicyclists are asked to avoid the closed section of La Cholla.

Motorists should use North La Cañada Drive as an alternate route.

The town of Oro Valley said the “contractor’s personnel and heavy equipment near a retaining wall constructed for the project” does not provide adequate space for motorists.

Ruthrauff Road and Interstate 10 closures this week: Drivers should expect to see the following overnight lane closures and lane restrictions on Interstate 10 near Ruthrauff Road for the upcoming week:

  • Westbound I-10 will be reduced to two lanes between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Westbound I-10 will be reduced to a single lane between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Ruthrauff Road will be reduced to a single lane in each direction near Highway Drive and Davis Avenue starting Monday, Jan. 20. The lane restrictions are scheduled to extend into early February.

Contact Star reporter Shaq Davis at 573-4218 or sdavis@tucson.com

On Twitter: @ShaqDavis1

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