La Cholla bridge expected to be ready before monsoons - Tucson News Now

La Cholla bridge expected to be ready before monsoons

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

We're getting a major update on a bridge being built over the Canada del Oro (CDO) Wash.

The bridge on La Cholla could be ready in time before summer rains send the CDO over the road, closing it to traffic.

It has been about eight months of construction on La Cholla, between Magee and Overton Roads.

The $28.3 million dollar Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) project calls for widening the road, creating bike paths, improving drainage and intersections improvements.

However, what drivers are really interested in is the bridge over the CDO.

La Cholla is one of a few major north/south streets on the northwest side.

It's considered a major regional corridor.

So when summer monsoon storms cause the Canada del Oro Wash to flood La Cholla, closing it down three or four times a year, for days at a time, it causes major headaches.

"The monsoon just tears up the road and everybody that lives up here has to go all the way around and it just creates late times for work and everything," says Joe Micciche who lives near the bridge.

The bridge over the CDO Wash will be two separate spans. One northbound. One southbound.

Two lanes on each.

The plan is to have crews work longer hours, including evenings and weekends if necessary, to have one of those spans ready for two-way traffic by late June, before the monsoon rains come.

"Come this summer we have a bunch of big monsoons and a lot of water through the CDO--La Cholla will still be open. One lane in each direction...on the brand new bridge," says Pima County Transportation Department Director Priscilla Cornelio.

Neighbors are eager to have an easy way to get home during rainstorms, but some do have a few concerns.

It's a big bridge at 600 feet long.

"They've been working at it really heard. I mean even on Sundays. So I can see their rush because of the way the wash's cut in. Just wasn't expecting it to be this invasive," says Julie Halbert who lives in a nearby neighborhood.

Another neighbor, Ian Sichelman, says, "I think it'll work. It's just you want to be like Bewitched and wiggle your nose and have it all done so you don't have to fool with it."

Halbert and Sichelman were hoping the bridge construction would include a privacy wall for their neighborhood.

The Pima County Transportation Department says the neighborhood in which Halbert and Sichelman live already has a privacy wall that was built by the neighborhood developer.

A spokesperson also says, with the bridge, it would be impossible to build a wall high enough for privacy.  

She adds there are no privacy walls for any of their projects.

Asked about noise from the bridge, the county says all tests show the nearby neighborhood is far enough away that noise walls are not required.

Project Manager Dean Papajohn says planners have done their best to make the bridge attractive, and he thinks people will enjoy it for function as well as aesthetics.

La Cholla is being improved all the way from Ruthrauff to Overton. 

Papajohn says the very long range plan is to make improvements even further north, to Tangerine Road.

Pima County says its importance to transportation is why it La Cholla is a priority while another road that the CDO Wash floods is not.

That would be Overton Road.

The CDO floods Overton right around the corner from the new bridge.

Pima County says a bridge at Overton is not in the capital improvement plan. There's no money for it.

The entire La Cholla bridge over the CDO Wash is expected to be completed this fall.

The entire one-and-a-half mile long improvement project has a Spring 2014 completion date.

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