New Innovative Design Set for Valencia/Kolb Intersection
One of the busiest intersections in southeast Tucson will soon get a major overhaul. Current backups at Valencia and Kolb roads are expected to diminish when the “PAGI” comes to town. That’s short for parkway at-grade intersection.
Construction is expected to begin late this year, and will take place over 24 months. The City of Tucson will manage the $20 million project, which is part of the Valencia Road corridor widening project. The corridor project is one of 35 major corridor projects in the Regional Transportation Authority plan that Pima County voters approved in May 2006, along with a half-cent sales tax to help fund projects. The RTA managed the design phase of the project.
The intersection will feature parkway at grade movements that use on ramps in place of left turns, as well as indirect left turns (u-turns). The improvements will alleviate traffic congestion and connect to future improvements on Valencia Road, east to Houghton Road.
Pima Association of Governments Deputy Director Jim DeGrood said “The intersection will operate like a diamond interchange with a traffic signal in the middle. It is a very efficient way to handle traffic. Right now you have one lane of traffic moving, while 11 others are stopped. That is pretty inefficient movement,” he added.
The Valencia/Kolb intersection will be the first PAGI in the country, and because of that, the Texas A & M Transportation Institute, one of the premier higher education-affiliated transportation research agencies in the nation, has been at the intersection to study the turn movement problems the project will address.
Mr. DeGrood, who is also a professional engineer, said traffic will actually improve during construction because crews will build the southern on ramp first to accommodate vehicles that would have traveled through the intersection. When the project is completed, it will feature a 6-lane desert parkway with bike lanes and sidewalks, and of course, the PAGI.
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