Drivers share opinions as Cortaro Farms Road nears construction - Tucson News Now

Drivers share opinions as Cortaro Farms Road nears construction

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The to-do list is set on a major construction project on the northwest side of Tucson.

Inside Quail Run Elementary School at 4600 W. Cortaro Farms Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, an auditorium full of people learned more about what they're getting.

Nearly one month ago, the Pima County Board of Supervisors approved a contract to conduct roadway improvements on Cortaro Farms Road. This $18.8 million project will reconstruct and widen about 1.28 miles of Cortaro Farms Road between Camino De Oeste and Thornydale Road, according to a news release.

The finished product, according to the release, will include multi-use lanes, curbed medians, storm drain system, cross drainage structures, retaining walls, noise walls, traffic signals, native vegetation landscaping, signing and pavement markings.

It's a lot to be done, and it had the project manager preaching safety when driving through the construction corridor.

"Patience, please. It'll look nice and be nice when it's done. But we've got a year and a quarter to work through to get there," said Paul Bennett, project manager with the Pima County Transportation Department (PCDOT).

For now, it's a bit of a hassle.

There are three simultaneous major road projects happening within a 6-mile radius.

Tangerine Road is being worked on by the city of Marana, and Ina Road is being worked on by the Arizona Department of Transportation. All are happening on the northwest side of Tucson.

Bennett said that all three departments are in constant communication.

"Our traffic talks to their traffic people. Our designers talk to their designers," he said.

It has some people scratching their heads. If they are aware of the other projects, why add a third?

Bennett said it's all about time and money.

"The reason being now is that the funding we have for this project is regional funding. If we do not build this project now, that funding will go back into the region. More than likely, it'll get reallocated to another project, and this won't get built for several years," he said.

If all goes well, Bennett said, Hunter Contracting Company will start the work Monday, Sept. 25, and likely be done by Christmas 2018.

"Funding for the project comes primarily through state sources, with additional funds coming from County impact fees and the County allocation of Highway User Revenue Funds," the news release stated.

While those who commute daily on Cortaro Farms Road were not thrilled that there could potentially be more delays on the street, they were blatantly not too happy with the road conditions pre-construction, either.

Rodolfo Burneo has lived near Cortaro Farms Road and Delta Way for 17 years, and has watched congestion grow. He is anxiously awaiting the changes.

"I appreciate the construction. I mean, it's going to make the area nice and the traffic flowing right. But it's a mess to try to get out of that section," he said.

Bennett said there are two schools in this construction area they're concerned about. He is asking drivers to be aware that traffic in those areas could be more congested than normal during construction.

But Burneo said he won't mind the short-term pain for the long-term gain.

"Short term I don't mind to have the inconvenience," he said. "But it's a lot of traffic right now. I hope they do something. That's my concern."

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