Downtown Links Road Work Coming to St. Mary’s in October
By Teya Vitu
The first road work for the long-anticipated Downtown Links project is expected to start on St. Mary’s Road in mid-October.
Vehicle traffic at that time will be reduced to one lane in each direction from I-10 to Church Avenue for 12 to 15 months, said Tom Fisher, the planning project manager for the Tucson Department of Transportation.
“Lanes will be open in both directions throughout the project,” Fisher said.
Downtown Links is the “final mile” connecting the Barraza-Aviation Parkway to Interstate 10 at St. Mary’s Road. This will eventually involve rerouting 6th Street one block to the north, turning south on 7th Avenue and continuing the new roadway along the east side of the railroad tracks to Broadway.
This St. Mary’s stretch will be the first to be built.
Construction bids were opened Aug. 21 and Borderland Construction emerged as the low bidder. Borderland is the same company that earlier this year undertook the 8th Street Drainage project on 8th Street, 5th Avenue and 7th Street. This was considered the first phase of Downtown Links.
“Hopefully, there will be a signed contract in September,” Fisher said.
A pre-construction open house will likely take place during the third week of September. Updated public information is available at 622-9000 and online.
The entire St. Mary’s roadway will be rebuilt from I-10 to Church with four vehicle lanes, six-foot bicycle lanes on each side, eight-foot-wide sidewalks on each side, landscaping, lighting and a signaled pedestrian crossing, Fisher said.
“There will be some drainage improvements,” Fisher said. “That’s why these projects are so challenging. We are dealing with old utilities that have been there for over 80 years.”
A new 90-inch storm drain will be installed underneath the St. Mary’s roadway to take storm runoff from the north edge of the El Presidio Neighborhood to the Tucson Arroyo.
“St. Mary’s won’t be a swimming pool any more,” Fisher said. “There won’t be anymore splashing going up on the sidewalk.”