Tom Houle, Town of Marana photo.
Crews are widening Tangerine Road — an important east-west connection between I-10 and SR 77 north of Tucson.
Crews are widening Tangerine Road — an important east-west connection between I-10 and SR 77 north of Tucson — and turning it into a modern multi-use desert parkway.
As a parkway, it will be a broad, landscaped highway thoroughfare designed for commuters as well as sightseers out for a recreational drive.
The Tangerine Road Improvement Project includes widening the roadway from two to four lanes and constructing sidewalks for pedestrians and new lanes for bicyclists. Multi-use lanes and bicycle lanes will be constructed throughout the project.
“There will be pedestrian paths provided away from the road,” said project spokeswoman Genna Dreier, public relations coordinator and branding specialist for Kaneen Communications in Tucson.
Crews also will install turn lanes, traffic signals and wildlife crossings.
Signalized crossings include Dove Mountain Boulevard, Camino de Oeste, Thornydale Road and La Cholla Boulevard.
In addition, workers will install landscaped medians, eliminate existing dip crossings and upgrade culverts to avoid closures caused by flooding.
Eliminating dip crossings will be significant in improving the drive on Tangerine Road. “It will be much smoother,” Dreier said.
Work spans 10 mi. (16 km) on both sides of West Tangerine Road from North Dove Mountain Boulevard to North La Canada Drive. The segment falls within Oro Valley, the town of Marana and Pima County.
TCC, a Granite Construction and Borderland Construction joint venture, is contractor for the project. Tom Houle is project manager.
Based in Watsonville, Calif., Granite Construction partners with federal, state and private entities to design and build roads and highways. Borderland Construction is a heavy civil project contractor based in Tucson.
It specializes in construction management of bridges, roads and highways. In addition to paving and grading, Borderland performs its own structural concrete, curb and flat work.
Safety, Easy Access — Important to Design
Designed to improve safety, access and traffic flow, the Tangerine Road project is a partnership between Pima County, Oro Valley, Marana and the Regional Transit Authority.
It is part of a $2.1 billion Regional Transportation Authority plan approved by voters in 2006.
It is a construction management at risk project that combines the efforts of the design-engineering team, the owner and the contractor.
Construction began in March of this year. Phase 1-A, from Dove Mountain Road to Thornydale Road should wrap up in 2017.
Phase 1-B, from Thornydale Road to La Canada Drive, is slated to be completed in 2018.
Phase 2 construction, from Dove Mountain Boulevard to I-10, could start in 2022, according to project documents.
Improving Travel, Emergency Services
Improvements will reduce congestion and travel times. In addition, the elimination of the dip wash crossings will eliminate the need for road closures and allow emergency services to respond faster during major storms.
Two Types of Desert Parkway Designs
The first type is an uncurbed desert parkway. An uncurbed desert parkway design, containing a depressed landscaped median and uncurbed road edges, is typically used on roadways with posted speed limits of 50 mi. (80 km) per hour or greater.
The purpose of the design is to eliminate the possible hazard that curbs may present to vehicles traveling at higher speeds.
The other approved design option, a curbed desert parkway, contains a curbed landscaped median and uncurbed road edges and is intended for roadways with posted speed limits of 45 mi. (72 km) per hour or lower. The design is appropriate for segments of a roadway that experience lower speeds because of more intersections and driveways.
Crews will follow the uncurbed desert parkway design in building the higher speed segment of Tangerine Road from I-10 to Thornydale Road. The remainder of the Tangerine Road project to the east will feature the curbed desert parkway design.
Landscaping would include plants near the roadway and trees near walking paths on each side of the road. Trees could also be planted on the median of the curbed parkway.
The road has reached its capacity, especially in the area east of Thornydale Road and has numerous drainage dip crossings that preclude its use during major storms.
Now water flows will be directed through culverts under the roadway.
It is part of a design that incorporates both safety and aesthetics.
As a desert parkway, the road design and landscaping will complement the desert scenery.
Tangerine Road also will accommodate bicycle riders and pedestrians. Bicycle lanes and shoulders are incorporated into the roadway design, as are nearby pedestrian paths.
Small Businesses in Construction Area Can Seek Help
The Regional Transportation Authority funds Main Street Business Assistance, a small-business assistance program. The RTA plan approved in 2006 provides $10 million for small business assistance affected by road improvement projects that are part of the plan.
The funding is used to provide information, facilitate communication and provide consulting services to businesses.
Marana, Oro Valley and Pima County developed provisions that require the contractor to water the work area on a regular basis to reduce particulates and dust.
Noise reduction also was considered, but the amount of noise produced by the project did not meet the criteria for noise wall installation in areas near the work.