Street paving takes steps forward while widening project continues to take shape

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - From paving streets to widening roads, those bearing the responsibility of transportation in Tucson took another step forward Thursday night.

The task force for the widening of Broadway Boulevard from Euclid to Country Club met to review cross-sections of the project.  Citizens have expressed concern that the arterial does not need to be widened to eight lanes, which would require leveling buildings and closing businesses all along the northern edge of the street.  Those in charge of the project, which is part of the voter-approved Regional Transportation Authority, are examining alternatives.  However, they have said that they must be careful and get plenty of public input.

"Our historic resources and our businesses, also protecting the neighborhoods that are nearby," said project manager Jenn Toothaker Burdick.  "What we're wanting to do, however, is also look at how does this roadway work for the next forty, fifty, sixty years, and who will we accommodate and how can we accommodate them well."

Tucson voters approved $100 million in bond money over five years to pave main roads and neighborhood streets.  And eleven-member citizen commission met for the first time Thursday.  The mayor urged them to make sure that the projects listed for each year are done on-time and on-budget.  He also urged them to be careful as they approve which neighborhoods receive paving each year.  About 15-percent of the bonds are open to neighborhood streets.

"I'm going to ask them tonight to be objective, to use facts in making those decisions, because, as you can imagine, I'm sure that a lot of neighborhoods are going to come forward, rightfully, saying, 'hey, fix our roads,' so that's another big responsibility of theirs," said Tucson mayor Jonathan Rothschild.

"I think that with eleven people on the commission, appointed by the mayor and council and city manager, we'll do a good job of taking everything into account and looking at what needs to be done and when," said commission member Matthew Kopec.

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