Lambert ready, but OV must figure out how to finance it - The Explorer: Oro Valley

Lambert ready, but OV must figure out how to finance it

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Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 4:00 am

The Town of Oro Valley is trying to determine how to pay for improvements to Lambert Lane, a major east-west roadway connecting La Cañada Drive and First Avenue.

“We are still evaluating our financing options for this project and have not made a final decision,” said Stacey Lemos, Oro Valley’s finance director. “The options we’re looking at are bonding or some other form of short-term borrowing to finance the project, but I don’t have any further details at this time.”

Lambert Lane would be improved in two phases. First up is an estimated $14.86 million project to widen 2.6 miles of Lambert between La Cañada and First from two to four lanes.

Oro Valley’s actual share of the project cost is $1.986 million, according to the Pima Association of Governments’ five-year transportation improvement program. A total of $11.2 million in state-shared highway user revenue funds would be committed through PAG to the project over a four-year period starting July 1.

Those state-shared funds “are reimbursements only,” said Tim Thurein, senior transportation planner for PAG. “They don’t get that money unless they show they’ve spent it.”

“The town is working to take this project to construction,” said Jose Rodriguez, engineering division manager on Oro Valley’s development and infrastructure management team. In terms of engineering and design work, “we’re ready to go.”

When it’s finished, the stretch of Lambert between La Cañada and Pusch View Lane will be expanded from two adjoining lanes to a four-lane, divided roadway with six-foot multi-use lanes in both directions and a six-foot sidewalk on its north side.

Rodriguez said Oro Valley plans “to salvage as much” of the existing, southside recreation path as it can, and replace what’s lost to keep that path intact.

Utilities are moving lines in anticipation of the Lambert Lane project, Rodriguez said. Tucson Electric Power, Southwest Gas, Comcast and Qwest are in various stages of line relocation, he said.

A $10 million widening of Lambert between La Cholla and La Cañada is proposed for reimbursement funding beginning in 2014-15.

Time for comment

 

Comments are welcome through May 25 on a draft report of the Pima Association of Governments’ five-year regional transportation improvement program.

The plan was published in February, and PAG conducted open houses on it last week. It is available online at www.pagnet.org, or at several Northwest locations, among them the city engineers’ offices at the Town of Marana and the Town of Oro Valley, and at all branches of the Pima County library system.

The public can rate the relative importance of various factors in transportation improvement, among them safety, air quality, congestion, alternative modes of transportation and more, all of it “given the region’s limited funding for transportation,” according to a comment form.

Comments can be mailed, e-mailed or faxed to Pima Association of Governments, attn: Robert Done (rdone@pagnet.org), 177 N. Church #405, Tucson, 85701. The fax number is 620-6981.

The plan goes to the PAG regional council for scheduled final approval May 26.

Major NW work that may start soon

Major road construction projects in the Northwest that may soon see activity are:

• La Cañada, Ina to River. That $35.75 million widening to four lanes is slated for reimbursement funding early in the Pima Association of Governments’ five-year transportation improvement plan. “We’re hoping that’ll bid late summer,” said Sal Caccavale, capital improvement program advocacy manager for the Pima County Department of Transportation, at last week’s PAG open house at Foothills Mall.

• Naranja, La Cholla to Ironwood Ridge High School. PAG expects to reimburse expenditure of $1.737 million to reconstruct that one-mile section of Naranja by adding a third, two-way central left-turn lane, in addition to sidewalk and road shoulders. The improvement is scheduled for payback funds in fiscal 2010-11 as well as 2011-12.

• Naranja, Ironwood Ridge High School to Shannon. An estimated $3.187 million reconstruction of one mile of roadway is scheduled to receive reimbursement money beginning in fiscal 2014-15.

• La Cholla, Magee to Overton. The 2.5-mile widening to four lanes is estimated at

$28.7 million. Reimbursement funding for engineering and design work has begun, stretching into 2013-14.

• The intersection of Ina and Oracle. PAG said funds are being distributed on that estimated $5.05 million project in the current fiscal year as well as 2011-12. Funding for Oracle and Ina intersection improvement is coming from the Regional Transportation Authority.

• Improvement of Oracle Road from Tangerine north to the Pinal County line, and through the community of Catalina, may begin in fiscal year 2012-13. That project calls for widening 5.8 miles of State Road 77 to six lanes of traffic. Its estimated cost is $36.5 million, with another $8.23 million for three wildlife crossings, according to the PAG document.

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