New Pima County mountain bike trails cause traffic concerns for residents

New Pima County mountain bike trails cause traffic concerns for residents
New Pima County mountain bike trails cause traffic concerns for residents. (Source: Tucson News Now) (Michael Colaianni)

VAIL, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A Pima County mountain bike course with miles of trails in rural Vail is set to open this November, but it has some residents concerned about increased traffic along poorly maintained and dirt roads that lead to the trails.

Vail residents who use the frequently-patched Marsh Station Road say it is usually pretty quiet, but that could all change once McKenzie Ranch Trails Park opens in November.

The area off of Twinstar Road will feature competitive mountain bike trails for novice and serious cyclists.

“This road is going to get really busy,” said Deborah Gilbert, who lives off of Red Hill Ranch Road and only a few hundred yards from the trail head. “There are going to be RVs staying here overnight, because they’re going to weekend-long bicycle races. What is going to happen to our roads with all of this extra traffic?”

New Pima County mountain bike trails cause traffic concerns

COUNTY ROADS CRUNCH: A new mountain bike trail in Vail has some residents concerned over increased traffic on Marsh Station Road and other dirt roads that lead to the trails >> http://bit.ly/2QVNCkd

Posted by Tucson News Now on Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Concerns arose after the county and volunteers spent the last 10 months constructing the trails, signs, and parking lot for the new recreation space. On a dirt road maintained by local residents who pay $15 a month to have it graded, Gilbert wants the county to shoulder more of the load when it comes to keeping the roads clear and drivable. Twinstar and Red Hill Ranch Road, two dirt roads that lead to the trails, are not county maintained.

“Dump trucks and other construction equipment have already taken a toll on our roads,” said Gilbert. “To benefit all property owners that chose this rural lifestyle, I would say we need to have Marsh Station Road paved.”

The county already has plans to help residents keep the dirt roads leading up to the trail heads clear.

“The county is going to be a good partner,” said Robert Padilla, Pima County Parks and Recreation Deputy Director. “We’ve agreed to grade the road once or twice a year as needed so that residents don’t have to shoulder the load when it comes to keeping the roads clear.”

Padilla says the mountain bike community has been asking for a trail like this for years. While the county plans on chipping in to clear dirt roads, there is no immediate plan to repave Marsh Station Road.

"We will engage the Department of Transportation in to the conversation if that becomes necessary," says Padilla.

The grand opening of the McKenzie Ranch Trails Park will take place Nov. 3.

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