ADOT crews have embarked on a likely two-year project north of Tucson that is expected to increase traffic capacity, give bicyclists more space and reduce collisions between animals and motorists.

Last week, Arizona Department of Transportation workers began the process of adding one lane of travel in each direction along a seven-mile stretch of North Oracle Road between East Tangerine Road and the Pinal County line.

Crews had already spent the last year relocating utility lines in preparation for the project.

In addition, workers will also add raised medians, install a shared-use path on the east side of Oracle between East Wilds Road and Eagle Crest Ranch Boulevard and make traffic-signal improvements.

The work will also include widening the shoulders, which should make it easier for cyclists to use the road.

One of the more unique aspects of the project will be the installation of two wildlife crossing structures, an overpass and an underpass, paid for by the Regional Transportation Authority.

The whole project, which includes ADOT, the RTA and the Federal Highway Administration, costs $33.9 million.

During construction, two lanes will remain open in each direction, but motorists will need to slow down while driving through the work zone.

There will be occasional lane closures at night, according to ADOT.

Officials expect construction to be complete by spring 2016.

Underpass closing

Those of you who plan on using the Sixth Avenue underpass downtown should prepare to take another route this week.

The Tucson Department of Transportation will close the underpass from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. from today until Friday so the department’s streets and traffic maintenance division can prepare the underpass for repainting.

Motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians will not be able to use the underpass during those hours.

Those traveling north on Sixth Avenue should detour west on Toole Avenue to either Seventh Avenue or Stone Avenue.

Those heading south on Sixth should head west on Seventh Street to Seventh Avenue in order to reach Toole.

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Silverbell open house

The Tucson Department of Transportation and the Regional Transportation Authority will host an open house next week to review the landscape design and public art for the Silverbell Road improvements.

The agencies will hold the open house from 6 to 7:30 p.m. tonight at the El Rio Neighborhood Center, 1390 W. Speedway.

The project, which is part of the voter-approved RTA plan, will widen the stretch of North Silverbell between West Grant and West Goret roads to four lanes while adding pedestrian facilities, bicycle lanes, drainage improvements and native landscaping.

The road-improvement design will also be available for review.

Officials from the RTA, the department of transportation and the project team will be available to answer questions.

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