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Pima County plans to improve all roads by 2030, overcome challenges

Pima County plans to improve all roads by 2030, overcome challenges
Posted at 6:13 AM, May 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 09:13:24-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Pima County’s Department of Transportation plans to improve all 1,900 miles of county roads by 2030.

When a driver gets behind the wheel, their only focus should be on driving. But the county’s Department of Transportation says local roads made that difficult.

“There was a lot of concerns from citizens about the state of our roads, from potholes,” said Michelle Montagnino, with Pima County Construction Monitoring.

That’s why in 2020, the department launched a 10-year project to improve the pavement on all county-managed roads. That includes pothole patching, street sweeping, and sidewalk repairs.

“I think we’ve made a lot of ground as far as improvements to our roads, we’ve seen requests for pothole patching drop off significantly,” Montagnino said.

This year, the department allocated $85 million to this project. But inflation and material shortages resulted in needing more money and time.

“It’s not a system that you just hit a button and everything works perfect, it's got a lot of moving parts,” said Christopher Bagby, with Markham Contracting.

Contractors say they’ve had to get creative to get the job done, and searched for materials from suppliers outside of the county.

“A few years ago, you might have knocked something out in three days, it might take four days now," Bagby said. "Still we’re getting it done but it’s changing and evolving just like a lot of things.”

This year’s costs ended up exceeding the budget by $12 million. But the department of transportation says pre-existing tax money still covered it.

“We did adjust our projections and cost estimates moving into next year so hopefully we won’t have that same deficit,” Montagnino said.

The department will propose a $66 million budget for repairs in the next fiscal year. The proposal will go before the Board of Supervisors on May 17.