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$84 million road improvement project breaks ground near downtown Tucson next month

Posted at 11:49 PM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 02:49:42-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — 'Road improvement project.'

The words conjure up different images for different people.

Some might see new bike lanes and less potholes, others might imagine traffic jams and road closures.

With that in mind the Regional Transportation Authority was promoting it's latest project.

"This project will provide a 1.3 mile long new alignment, linking I-10 and Broadway," Greg Orsini, an engineer on the project, said.

The pitch sold up lower prices, on roadwork through cost cutting strategies.

"If we close 6th Street for a more extended period than you typically see on a Tucson roadway project, we're able to save about a million dollars," Orsini said.

That means no access to part of 6th street while the work is being done.

Engineers said it will change the landscape of the area, entirely.

"6th Street will go underneath the Union Pacific railroad there under 9th Avenue."

Orsini said it'll mean extra lanes, dedicated bike lanes, sidewalks, even a new drainage improvement project.

It comes at a cost of a little more than $76 million dollars funded by the RTA with funds also being used from HURF (Highway User Revenue), that amounts to $8.5 million.

All totaled it's an $84.6 million dollar project.

You can find full details on the project here.

"We will do our best, and we will maintain access to all the businesses that are affected by the job," Kyle Dewitt, project manager, said.

The RTA said a full construction schedule, including the length of time 6th Street will be closed, should be drafted next month.