Houghton Road Corridor Updates

From M.J. Dillard, City of Tucson Engineering Project Manager

Overall Corridor – Development

Just for general interest, we have been receiving an increasing number of phone calls from developers and property owners, along the entire corridor, that are considering new development. Most of the interest has been focused on residential, some on commercial, and some on the mix of the two. The City has a development process in place that oversees development, and at various phases, requires public input. You may all have experienced this with the recent plans regarding a Fry’s at Houghton and 22nd. If any of you have any specific questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us, and we will try and hunt down some information about the area, and contacts for more information if they are available.

Overall Corridor – Lighting

As most of you know, the City of Tucson enacted a safety policy that states that all arterial roads shall have street lighting. Additionally, all City of Tucson lights will be changed over to LED lighting for energy efficiency.

We have been learning a lot about LED lighting, LED technology, the Dark Sky ordinance, and a number of other aspects of lighting that are important to our community. TDOT is proud to say that we are now on the cutting edge of lighting technology for our roadways. We heard from a number of you about this lighting, we hired optics specialists, and worked with the night sky folks to make sure we are providing you with a safe and livable corridor.

As a result of our work in this area, you will notice a mention of some of the modifications and upgrades we are making to improve and keep up with what we have learned.

Houghton Road: Broadway Intersection Developments

Project is complete.

We will be making some adjustments to the lighting. We are evaluating if we need to change the light fixtures in this area, or if we can add a dimmer fixture to help reduce the brightness.

We will also do some additional paving and striping in this area when we do the final paving of the project immediately south, so they tie together as one project. We don’t anticipate that work for a few months.

Houghton Road: Broadway Intersection Park & Ride

This project is complete.

We have been making lighting modifications on this project as well. Although the lighting was designed to meet the current new development standards, we discovered that we needed to do better. As such, we replaced the fixtures to reduce the lighting by four times. However, homeowners are still having issues. We are working on changing out the wiring on the timer, so that we can turn off the lighting by the homes at an earlier hour than the entire facility. We were going to add shields, but found out that the fixtures specified for this project don’t have a standard shield that could be added, and installing a custom shield would invalidate the warranty. Transit and SunTran are still evaluating options and we are discussing some other types of shielding. We will have more details on this as they become available.

Houghton Road: Broadway Boulevard to 22nd Street


We are rapidly moving forward on this project and are still ahead of schedule. However, the rains we had held up some of the placement of the roadway base course (material under the asphalt) and first lifts of asphalt. Everything has to dry out before we can put all that down. We are also hearing that there will be some rain coming in on Monday. We are hoping this won’t slow us up too much.

The current schedule is as follows:

Road closures: Macalester and Buffaloberry Loop (south) will remain closed at Houghton until the 2nd week of March, when we can switch traffic over to the other side of Houghton. We apologize for not getting these opened earlier, but the rains directly affected this effort.

Catch basins (collect water off the road): We are installing the last two and then this work will be complete.

Box culvert work is complete.

Roadway excavation and grading is ongoing, and we are currently hoping to pave on February 11 and 12 (various locations), on both Houghton and 22nd.

Landscaping: The irrigation is in, and the landscapers are starting to plant. They asked to start planting a little early, so they have provided assurances that if we get some weather that damages the new vegetation, they will replace it at their expense.

Utilities: Southwest Gas and Century Link are out making minor adjustments to their lines. One was installed in the wrong location, and another was hit when it was discovered it was six feet off from the bluestake lines. We also found a sewer line that was higher than as-builts indicated, but we adjusted our box culvert to avoid this conflict. That particular work is complete.

Lighting: Holding off on installing the poles and fixtures until we can verify what we have to do to modify them to meet our new LED criteria.

Art: We have been working with the artists on their sculpture and retaining wall details. We estimate the retaining wall will still start going up in about six weeks and the sculpture is still several months out.

Houghton Road: Irvington to Valencia

Project is complete.

Any regular maintenance items, such as rocks on the road or a dirt-clogged drainage channel, can be referred to our streets maintenance number, 520-791-3191.

We also have an active two-year landscape establishment contract to keep the landscaping looking as it should. We can contact them if we have any issues with this aspect of the project. Our landscape architect meets with them weekly to evaluate the site.

You may have noticed the recent installation of information kiosks along the multi-use path that explain our landscaping design and features. We hope you enjoy reading about your project.

Houghton Road: Bridge Over the Union Pacific Railroad and UPRR to Interstate 10

Schedule: The schedule for these projects is shifting a bit as follows:

Houghton Road: Bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad As we mentioned before, we are working through the new federal process for submitting the request for our Federal check. This is taking longer than we hoped, but we are still looking for a late spring, early summer construction start date. We will keep you updated.

We are still planning on the bat exclusion operation at the end of February. We learned some things from the bat exclusion on the Elephant Head Bridge in southern Pima County and will be updating our process to incorporate the lessons learned. When the new bridges are constructed, we will add the new bat boxes (selected by the bats during our “test” period).

Houghton Road: UPRR to Interstate 10

We are wrapping up the design package for this project, and then we will be putting it on hold until we get a better understanding of the schedule for the ADOT interchange work and the new federal process. We will provide more information as it becomes available.

Houghton Road: 22nd to Golf Links or Further South and Houghton Road: Valencia Road to Old Vail/Mary Ann Cleveland Way

As we reported last time, the Regional Transportation Authority has secured additional funding for us to move forward with additional work.

We have been receiving requests to complete the Pantano Bridge widening as soon as possible, to prevent it from being a bottleneck to the north. We are also hearing about a lot of construction moving forward on the Valencia Corridor, and additional pavement preservation projects surrounding the Houghton Corridor.

Given this information, we are pulling together project locations and schedules to determine the best time to roll out these projects.

We are looking at the feasibility of extending the Houghton Road: 22nd Street to Golf Links project to Irvington, thus including the Pantano Bridge, and starting this project very soon.

We are also looking at the project schedules in the Valencia Corridor, to see when the best time to start the Houghton Road: Valencia Road to Old Vail/MAC Way would be.

The Ward 4 Citizen Design Review Committee will be utilized as our public outreach advisory group for this project. We will be scheduling a meeting with this group to present our findings and recommendations, and get your opinions, within the next few months.

As always, we appreciate your patience, and we want to hear from you if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions.

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