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Houghton widening underway as Pima Fair opens

More lanes and better flood control
Posted at 8:33 PM, Apr 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-22 08:32:58-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A safer road’s in the future for a road a lot of you may take to the Pima County Fair this weekend.

Houghton is the main road into the fairgrounds but it will jam up for that extra traffic. Now Pima County is working to uncork that bottleneck—not so much for the Fair but to relieve congestion year round.

Houghton road is rough. It’s narrow. It’s prone to floods deep enough to trap a car.

Mike Burns says he’s been driving Houghton for a lot of years. He says it was okay until about 2016 when a building boom pumped up the traffic and traffic lights went in at Houghton and I-10.

“I've been caught in traffic all the way back to the fairgrounds trying to go north on Houghton. Flooding in the summertime was a big problem. Sometimes you get flooded out, couldn't get in or couldn't get out. And that's going whether it's Houghton Road, Sahuarita road or Wentworth, you just couldn't get out.”

Now Pima County’s spending 30 million dollars to take Houghton from the two lanes it has now, to four lanes.

Engineer Michelle Montagnino manages construction monitoring for Pima DOT. She says, “There's also going to be all weather access through there. We're adding a lot of drainage improvements. There's going to be a traffic signal at Brekke. Some street lighting at Dawn Road. So some major improvements are going to be a major roadway widening corridor. “

The County says the work is going well. It should be complete just under a year from now.

If you’re heading for the Fair you might be thinking construction on Houghton will aggravate the jam ups. The County says traffic should be no worse than previous years at the fair. Drivers had one lane in each direction then. Right now the construction’s at a stage where at least two lanes are already available as the project moves to a full four lanes later.

RELATED: Easy access routes to get to the Pima County Fair

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Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. Craig enjoys the way reporting can be a passport to interesting experiences. With more than 30 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. Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand and his work has been recognized with numerous awards. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing craig.smith@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.