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Major Downtown intersection reopens

6th Avenue and 7th Street open again. Other closures ahead.
Posted at 6:23 PM, May 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 21:23:32-04

TUCSON, Ariz (KGUN) — Barricades are blooming all over downtown Tucson as work continues on a project called Downtown Links for a quicker path across downtown. But one major intersection has just re-opened. As part of KGUN9’s Operation Safe Roads we have an update on Sixth Avenue and Seventh Street.

It’s a real relief when a major path in and out of downtown re-opens. New construction can make things better for drivers and businesses but they can need patience in the meantime.

In a sight ten months in the making, drivers are coming through Sixth Avenue and Seventh Street now that work is complete here. Much of the work was actually underground to improve storm water drainage.

It’s part of a larger project called downtown links which is working to create a quicker connection between Barazza Aviation Parkway and I-10. The first plans from more than thirty years ago mainly considered cars. The current plan helps with other types of transportation too, like adding bike lanes.

Now work will close the Stone Avenue underpass as of Monday for work to end its reputation as a frequent flooder during monsoon.

Future improvements can cause current headaches for businesses blocked behind barricades.

At Miller’s Surplus, Manager George Landa says over the years there’s been a series of construction projects around his store. He says this year COVID was already dragging down business when construction cut parking and threw up barriers that required customers to be very determined to get there and shop.

“We've been struggling it's it's it's uh, we went from like 18 employees or six of us and the owner and it hasn't helped that the product the supply lines are down as well. And people don't know we've got some customers here today that have been trying to get here for like two months.”

Erica Frazelle of Tucson’s Department of Tucson Transportation and Mobility says it does what it can to help businesses when construction disrupts the streets.

“So where you see now, parallel parking, that's what it was before. We restriped this area to create back in parking to create more parking, where we took away parking. And we understand that during construction, it's very difficult for businesses, so we try as a team to accommodate any of their needs and try and make it as stress free as possible.”

And at Millers Surplus they’re hoping for a big weekend now that it will be easier for customers to get there and park.

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Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. 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. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing craig.smith@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.