Two lane blacktop heading towards the horizon

by Supervisor Steve Christy

This month’s Vail Voice column allows me to announce some terrific news. I’ll begin by sharing some information directly from the Pima County administrator’s January 17th memorandum to our district 4 office: “I have asked our transportation staff to plan roadway capacity improvements on Houghton Road, south of Interstate 10 (I-10).” County administrator Huckelberry states that this plan calls “to widen Houghton Road as a four-lane divided road from I-10 to the Andrada Polytechnic High School … .” This will be a collaborative county/city effort, “which is also an incentive to develop a comprehensive regional project to improve Houghton Road, south of I-10.” 

Mr. Huckelberry concludes his memorandum to me with, “this is an appropriate and prudent action to improve access to the Corona de Tucson area by improving Houghton Road as a four-lane, divided arterial roadway… .” This highly and positively impactful Houghton Road expansion and improvement project will be paid for by managing and utilizing county and city transportation impact fees and elements of limited “bridge” financing. 

This much-needed project, from design to completion, will most likely take the better part of two years at a cost of about $25 million, as best estimates allow. There is tangible hope that preliminary efforts could start up within a year. Naturally, there are many details yet to be resolved, particularly in the design phase and the inter-governmental agreements and understandings between Pima County and the city of Tucson, but without question, the overall plan is one of the most significant transportation remedies to be presented to our Vail and Corona de Tucson region in a very long time. After many years of what residents in our neighborhoods have termed as “neglect,” we are now seeing effective action and attention from Pima County. 

Through Pima County’s leadership, the Vail and Corona de Tucson areas are poised to embark upon a modern, progressive roadway improvement and enhancement plan which will begin to address one of the most troubling and problematic stretches of travel and commutes in our south east region. This project certainly is not the complete answer to our south east region’s transportation challenges, but it is a significant piece of a potential overall plan. 

This improvement project for our Houghton road corridor will eventually come before the Pima County Board of Supervisors for acceptance and approval. There may be those in our county who may not want this project for our community to go through. At the appropriate time, my office will be asking for your support and for the board of supervisor’s approval of the Houghton road improvements. 

We will need all of the support we can gather, and I’m counting on all of you to help and to participate. The Southeast Regional Council will be instrumental as our community advocate in this and in other matters affecting our region. SERC will need your voice, as will I. The Houghton Road improvement plan could be the catalyst we’ve been looking and waiting for to begin to just fix our roads.

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