Bridge over CDO not yet ready to carry traffic over flooded wash - Tucson News Now

Bridge over CDO not yet ready to carry traffic over flooded wash

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Crews hoped it would be ready by now, in time for the monsoon.

However, a bridge over the flood-prone Canada del Oro Wash on the northwest side isn't done yet.

It's going in where the CDO Wash crosses La Cholla, north of Magee.

Pima County Transportation says this is not actually a delay because the bridge project is part of a 1.5 mile long road project that has a spring, 2014, completion date.

Getting the bridge up by July 4, in time for the summer storms, was a goal because La Cholla is considered a significant north-south corridor.

It has turned out the goal was a bit optimistic.

The bridge over the CDO is actually two bridges.

One is for northbound traffic.  The other for traffic heading south.

The reason people were hoping one of the bridges would be ready by now is that monsoon storms flood La Cholla where it now runs through the CDO Wash.

That closes the road to all traffic.

The bridges will solve that yearly problem.

But, not quite yet.

Pima County and the contractor had hoped to have one of the bridges ready to carry traffic in both directions by now, but things didn't line up.

"Every factor had to work perfectly for that to happen. All the labor, all the materials had to be submitted at the same time. So not every happened perfectly and this is where we are," said Ana Olivares, Pima County Transportation Department Deputy Director for Infrastructure.

The new completion date for the bridge is early September.

The northbound bridge will carry traffic in both directions over the wash until its sister bridge can be completed sometime this fall.

Olivares says storms may flood the road again this year, but things will be different from previous years.

She says the road is new and has safeguards to keep the CDO Wash from depositing debris all over it.

It's that debris that would close the road for up to five days after it flooded.

Olivares says the other significant difference is that it's the contractor's job to maintain the road, and that includes keeping it free of debris.

She says all the equipment and manpower to do that is already there.

"If we have debris that piles up, and we expect to have a lot less because of the way the detour was built--we do have debris, they're right there and they can clean It up. As soon as the water is gone, they can go in and clean it up and open the road," Olivares said. "If there's a pothole, if there's something in that road, because we have a contractor there, they maintain it."

Olivares says, if La Cholla at the CDO Wash should flood, she expects it will be reopened to traffic within 24 hours.

Tucson News Now's Barbara Grijalva will have more on KOLD News 13 at 5 and 6 p.m. She can be followed on Twitter at @BGrijalvaKOLD.

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