KGUN 9NewsCommunity Inspired JournalismSouthside News


White House backs foot bridge over I-19

To help reconnect neighborhoods split by Interstate
Posted at 9:16 PM, Jun 27, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A White House official came to Tucson Wednesday, in part to highlight money the Administration has channeled to Tucson for infrastructure—the streets, bridges and other structures required to make a modern city run. Part of that is to help re-connect a neighborhood a super-highway split apart.

When I-19 went in years ago it created a barrier between southside Tucson communities. Now the City of Tucson and the Federal Government are working on a new way to get over that barrier for people on foot and people on bikes.”

I-19 brought in a river of traffic that's hard to cross without a car. That led to complaints the superhighway split a cohesive community, interfered with its culture and made it harder to reach essential services like shopping.

White House intergovernmental relations director Tom Perez came to Tucson, in part to talk about the administration sending money to Tucson for infrastructure. Including the plan to build a bridge from Nebraska Street across I-19. The bridge would not carry cars, just people on foot and on bikes.

We met Sonia Ortiz on Nebraska. She does not want that sort of bridge at that location.

“Not in this neighborhood, because we already have a lot of problems with transients coming in through our area. Some of them even hanging out in the wash, because we have a wash back here. I think it's just going to bring more transients in our area and more people that we don't want within our neighborhood.”

She does want more ways to connect with the other side of I-19 but would rather not have it on a street like Nebraska where people live. She'd rather have a new bridge for people, bikes and cars on a commercial street.

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero says the city is working on other bridges for the area that would carry all sorts of traffic.

She says, “People for many years have been telling the city of Tucson, that they want other ways to be connected to grocery shopping, different shopping to medical, to schools. This is one of the ways that we will be able to do that.”

The city has 900 Thousand dollars to plan the new bridge. Tucson’s transportation director says it would take between five and seven million dollars to build it.

Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 40 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.