Sunset Road bridge project at halfway point - Tucson News Now

Sunset Road bridge project at halfway point

People living west of the Santa Cruz from West El Camino del Cerro to Ina Road have been inconvenienced by a lack of access to I-10 for the past 33 years. (Source: Google Maps) People living west of the Santa Cruz from West El Camino del Cerro to Ina Road have been inconvenienced by a lack of access to I-10 for the past 33 years. (Source: Google Maps)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The race is on to finish the Sunset Road Pima County/RTA bridge project by mid-April of 2017 in order to ease pressure caused by another road project in the area being done by the state of Arizona.

The bridge can be used as a detour, a sort of pressure valve, for motorists who will be inconvenienced by the closure of West Ina Road at Interstate 10 for a two-year overpass project there.

It's hoped that the bridge can be completed and West Sunset Road will be open before the state closes Ina Road in both directions for its project.

The Sunset Road bridge over the Santa Cruz River was washed out by severe flooding in October 1983.

People living west of the Santa Cruz from West El Camino del Cerro to Ina Road have been inconvenienced by a lack of access to I-10 or east past the Southern Pacific RR tracks for the past 33 years.

The new bridge spanning the Santa Cruz will open that corridor again.

Sunset Road will eventually go over the interstate and the railroad tracks but that work won't be done until a state widening project, which won't begin until after the Ina Road project.

Fifty-four large girders have begun arriving at the construction site and will continue to arrive over the next six days.

The girders are 120 feet long and weigh 60 tons each. They span the bridge from side to side. Nine will be set every day for the next six days.

The girders are arriving via the interstate right now but beginning next week, they will be moved on-site along El Camino del Cerro and North Silverbell Road, causing some traffic delays.

The setting of the girders means the project has reached the halfway point according to the project manager Jason Bahe.

"We're optimistic it will be done on time or we're hoping, maybe a bit early," Bahe said.

The bridge will not span the Santa Cruz along the same route as the one which washed out in 1983.

It was moved 1,200 feet south because the flood plain moved closer to Silverbell Road over the years, which called for a design realignment.

Following the old route would have called for a 1,000-foot bridge. The one being installed is a little more than 700 feet, resulting in a cost savings and a better route.

The old bridge was just more than 100 feet and "could not convey the event which occurred back in '83," Bahe said. "This will convey a 500-year event. It's not going to wash away."

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