ADOT wants to know what you think about future road expansion pr - Tucson News Now

ADOT wants to know what you think about future road expansion projects

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Arizona Department of Transportation is taking public comment until March 21 on a proposal to extend the Barraza-Aviation Parkway, State Route 210, from Golf Links to Interstate 10 on the southeast side of Tucson. 

The project study also includes widening Interstate 10 from its present two lanes in each direction to four lanes from I-19 to Kolb Road. 

The state is interested in the project for two reasons including safety and commerce.

The state has cataloged 1,792 accidents along that stretch of interstate in the past five years. It has risen from 289 in 2011 to 431 in 2016. 

"A great part of this study is to address that," said CT Revere, a community relations officer for ADOT. "If you provide more capacity and an alternative route, it just makes it safer."

Also, expanding the Barraza-Aviation gives east side residents an entryway to downtown, which right now is available only on the crowded and sometimes unsafe I-10.

"We have a downtown that has become a popular destination point and it's going to continue to grow," Revere said. "There's commerce. There's entertainment. This would provide a highway access to downtown."

The city of Tucson is in the process of building the Downtown Links, a downtown bypass, which connects to the interstate on the west and the Barraza-Aviation on the east.

The city expects the southeast side to be the next big growth boom which is why it's aggressively annexing in the area.

If that's true, expanding the parkway and interstate makes regional sense.

"We know there's going to be growth out east, in Cochise County, in Pima County, so you build highway infrastructure for her future," Revere said.

The study is in Phase II, making it more likely to be built but it's still years down the road.

Funding has not been secured for the $190 million project yet but need must be shown first, which is another goal of the Phase II study.

The state has also addressed the option of doing nothing, which is always an option but Revere points out the "no build option" has ramifications. 

"We're going to have gridlock and people are going to hate driving on I-10," he said.

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