List of possible road repair projects for Pima County - Tucson News Now

List of possible road repair projects for Pima County

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

A massive project will soon be underway to fix Pima County's roads, but many are wondering why their neighborhood didn't make the cut for repairs.

It's all part of the Regional Local Road Repair Program. Recommendations will be presented to the Pima County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Dec. 12.

The street-by-street project list, which can be viewed HERE, is long and covers roadways from one end of the county to the other. Some roads and areas are taking priority over others.

It's why in the Meadowbrook subdivision, near River Road and North Shannon Road, residents like R.J. Jimenez are scratching their heads over why they're missing out.

Driving through the neighborhood, you could see why moving there two years ago left Jimenez unable to check all the boxes.

"We knew we were going to have to sacrifice something," he said, talking about the decision to buy the home with his family. "That's what we sacrificed. You know, with the area, and how nice the house is, we sacrificed that the roads were bad."

Bad enough that Jimenez said neighbors have been clamoring for a fix.

A solution may have come in the form of the Pima County Road Property Tax, approved by the Pima County Board of Supervisors. They estimate that about $19.5 million will be generated from the tax and go right to repairing the roads.

"Each jurisdiction received a share of the approximately $19.5 million based on its proportional share of assessed value," a memorandum dated Nov. 29 states. "The base funding component was further distributed by Supervisorial District."

The breakdown for which areas the money will be spent is $7.9 million per year for unincorporated Pima County, $7.7 million for Tucson, $1.18 million for Marana, $1.4 million for Oro Valley, $514,000 for Sahuarita and for South Tucson.

Divvying up the dollars was a "monumental task," according to Pima County Department of Transportation's Interim Director Ana Olivares.

"The need far out-paces the money that we have available. So how to spend that money is a very difficult task for anybody to set up a criteria," she said.

It's why, under Olivares' watch, a 13-member Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) was tasked in Aug. 2017 with taking an objective look. They got public input and approved two-year road plans for unincorporated Pima County, Marana, Oro Valley, Sahuarita, South Tucson, and the City of Tucson "based on each jurisdiction's pavement preservation program," the memo said.

They used three big criteria in selected the roads needing repair, Olivares explained. 

First, they wanted to repair each subdivision as a whole and not in parts. 

Second, they took a preservation approach and wanted to preserve poor roads that were prioritized by average daily traffic (ADT). 

Finally, they utilized the Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) rating system, which rates roads on a scale of one to 10, "with ratings 1, 2, 3 and 4 representing failed roads and 10 being a newly constructed road," according to the memo.

"It was considered and discussed with the committee, but to get 'more bang for the buck' they decided to go with the PASER 5 for these few years. That way we can keep the roads that are in fair condition fairer longer. As soon as those get all done, then you can start working on the failed roads as you move forward in the program," Olivares said.

On Monday, Jimenez learned his street didn't fit the criteria - even though he knows repairs are needed. He said no work has been done in the two years that he's lived there.

"I would rate the roads right in front of my house a 3, at best," he said, talking about the 1-10 PASER scale. "There are some other areas where people pass by here that I would rate a 1, just because they are that bad."

In actuality, Pima County's assessment said his subdivision was better -- a failing 4 rating.

It's why his District 1 Supervisor, and the District 4 Supervisor, reportedly tried to modify the two-year plan to include Meadowbrook, and at least six other subdivisions needing repairs, despite a unanimous vote on the criteria to be used.

"I think they went through a lot of effort and work to go out and talk to their constituents, and they heard from some of them. In my opinion, they wanted to show that they had listened to them and were going to try to do something a little bit different," Olivares said.

But the 13-member committee narrowly voted the changes down, 6-7, and took a second vote that passed 7-6 to approve the staff's two-year recommendation as presented at the meeting.

It means, according to Olivares who talked about it optimistically, Pima County will have to reconsider helping Jimenez and his neighbors after this two-year project is completed.

"Man, that's pretty horrible - actually," he said. "Because these roads are only going to get worse."

The breakdown for which areas the money will be spent is $7.9 million per year for unincorporated Pima County, $7.7 million for Tucson, $1.18 million for Marana, $1.4 million for Oro Valley, $514,000 for Sahuarita and for South Tucson.

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