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Bridge planned to remove flood threat

Bridging where major wash crosses Harrison
Posted at 7:49 PM, Dec 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 21:51:16-05

TUCSON, Ariz (KGUN) — Help is on the way for a hazardous flood zone. KGUN9’s Operation Safe Roads has a look at a new bridge in the works for a road that can put drivers in danger when heavy rains hit.

Harrison crosses the Pantano Wash is such a frequent flood spot that KGUN9 crews are regulars there for live shots during monsoon. But now the Regional Transportation Authority is working on a plan to remove the flood threat.

When hard rains hit Tucson’s east side, you do not want to be on Harrison Road midway between Golf Links and Irvington.

The Pantano Wash flows right across the road often with enough depth and force to trap drivers in their cars.

A bridge over this trouble spot has been in the Regional Transportation Plan since voters approved the plan fifteen years ago. Now RTA is getting ready to make the bridge happen.

RTA Deputy Director Jim DeGrood says, “I know it will be a broad bridge. The floodplain at this location is quite wide and the current standards are to span fully and to provide for at least a 500 year flood .”

The City of Tucson thinks the southeast side is growing so fast the bridge and the road leading to it should be four lanes wide. Design, and how to pay for it are things the city and RTA will have to work out.

Raven Ranch is on the edge of where the new bridge would go. Horse lovers board about 80 horses with Dave and Lydia Byczek there. She says a bridge would make things more convenient for their customers.

“Mostly our customers will have to go around, we'll have to go around when the road is closed. The floodwaters don't really reach our property. So that's not a problem for us. But the road being closed just causes a little extra time to get here.”

But the bridge will make Harrison a safer road no matter what the weather is doing.