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La Cholla Blvd. Project expected to be complete five years early

Posted at 6:21 AM, Dec 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-04 08:56:04-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — TUCSON, Ariz. -- A construction project along La Cholla Blvd. was expected to be finished in 2026. Now, the road work is set to be completed ahead of schedule by September 2020.

The miles worth of road work runs along La Cholla, starting from Magee and ending at Tangerine Rd. It was broken down into two phases. The first phase focused on widening the road from Magee to Overton. The next phase extends passed Overton to Tangerine.

All of the construction is part of a plan by the Regional Transportation Authority. That plan was approved by voters back in 2006 to improve the safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. The plan covers roadways in Pima County, with many cities and municipalities also helping with the work.

Since the La Cholla Blvd. project runs into Oro Valley, the town has taken point in the work. A big safety concern the construction addresses is blind spots. Officials say expanding the road into four lanes can help prevent crashes. "By doing this project, we are evening the grade out and making the road much flatter. And by making it more flat, you make the sight visability much better. You can see much farther, so the people coming onto the street, along with the people on the street, everyone can see each other much better," says Oro Valley Public Works Director Paul Keesler.

In addition to widening the road, officials say they are also evening out any dips or closures from monsoon. Officials say that specifically has to do with the way the drainage works along La Cholla.

"The way La Cholla handled drainage in the past was purely through dip sections, so whenever it rained hard, we would have to go and close the road and put up baricades," says Kessler. "Now we put all that drainage underneath the road so the road can stay open during the monsoon."

This will not only benefit those who travel the road, but also provide safe wildlife linkages. The idea was approved by the Fish and Wildlife Commission as a safer route for animals.

The RTA Plan slated the construction to be finished in 2026, but officials now say it will be done in September 2020.