Grant Road Improvement Project

Grant Road Improvement Project FAQs

The Grant Road Improvement Team collects questions it has received about the Grant Road Plan and posts them here along with the answers. Watch this page for updates with new questions and answers.

Questions

 
GENERAL/DESIGN

What are the project limits?
Will any of the side streets be affected?
What is a Design Concept Report (DCR)?
What is the current status of the project?
Who is the design consultant?
When will construction start?
How long will the construction take?
What does ‘substantially complete’ mean?
What is the purpose of the Indirect Left Turns? What is the empirical data that supports the decision?

NOISE WALL INFORMATION

Noise Wall Information

REAL ESTATE

Who is Tierra Right-of-Way and what is their role in the project?
How does the property acquisition process work?
How far in advance will I be notified if my property is to be acquired?
Is there an early acquisition program?

PUBLIC ART

How does the public art process work?

SCHEDULE

What is the current project schedule?
How did the City determine the schedule and phasing of Grant Road?

PAVEMENT CONDITION

What is the City doing in the interim to keep Grant Road driveable?

UTILITIES ON GRANT ROAD

Will utilities be underground on the Grant Road Corridor?

DRAINAGE

Will any drainage improvements be completed as part of the Grant Road corridor project?

Answers

 
GENERAL/DESIGN

What are the project limits?

What are the project limits?

The project limits extend approximately 5 miles, from 15th Avenue on the west to Venice Place on the east.  The construction of the improvements will be phased, as follows:

Phase 1:  15th Avenue to Alturas Street

Phase 2: Castro Avenue (just west of Stone Avenue) to Santa Rita Avenue (just east of Park Avenue).

Phases 3&4:  Palo Verde Boulevard to Venice Place

Phases 5&6:  Fremont Avenue to Sparkman Boulevard

Back to Top

Will any of the side streets be affected for Phase 2 construction?

The most significant side street improvements will occur at Stone, Euclid and Park Avenues. These improvements will typically consist of minor widening in the vicinity of the intersection, pavement mill and overlay, new sidewalk, median improvements and line striping. In order to enhance safety, Los Altos Avenue and 2nd Avenue will be closed at Grant Road, and North Street will be closed at 1st Avenue.
Back to Top

What is a Design Concept Report (DCR)?

The Design Concept Report (DCR) is essentially a 15% design plan for an infrastructure project that sets general standards and criteria for further design and construction and is created by an experienced, professional engineering and design firm working alongside other firms which have special areas of expertise.

This detailed design and assessment of a construction project (in the case of Grant Road, a major roadway) usually includes, but may not be limited to the following decisions:

  • An analysis of existing conditions on the roadway including land use, urban form, real estate, environmental examinations, and infrastructure.
  • Geometric design criteria such as the design speed, sight distance, a determined cross-section for the roadway, including the total width, number of driving lanes and median and their width, and the width of pedestrian, bicycle and landscape amenities.
  • The DCR will include a recommended, approximate, roadway alignment. In instances where there is an existing road the recommended final DCR alignment will not differ too significantly as the proposed road location will encompass some if not all of the existing road. However, the final roadway alignment will chang somewhat as it will be based on a more detailed examination of roadway geometry, traffic signal timing, existing adjacent uses and access locations, minor street crossings, etc.
  • Additional design criteria such as those for access, turning locations, pavement, drainage, and lighting criteria. These items may also be revised during the engineering design phases of the project as a more detailed examination of a specific area’s needs is reviewed.
  • Streetscape, landscape, and public art recommendations.
  • Recommendations and analysis of utilities and utility relocation.
  • Recommendations on project implementation and costs.

An important part of the creation of a DCR is input from the user public – both residents and property owners along the roadway and an on-going Citizens’ Committee or Task Force that reviews plans and assists in communicating with other citizens. It also involves other professional and technical experts via a Technical Advisory Committee.

A DCR is considered complete when it has been reviewed and approved by the owner agency (the City of Tucson, Department of Transportation, for example) and approved by political leadership following a public hearing.
Back to Top

What is the current status of the project?

Phase 2 will begin construction in March 2017.

Phases 3 & 4 are in design.  60% design level plans are anticipated in late 2017.

Phases 5 & 6 are not yet in design.
Back to Top

Who is the design consultant?

The design consultants and contractors are listed on each information page for the project phases.
Back to Top

When will construction on Phase 2 start?

Construction is scheduled to begin on March 20, 2017.
Back to Top

How long will the construction take?

Construction is anticipated to be substantially complete in approximately 13 months.
Back to Top

What does ‘substantially complete’ mean?

After the completion of the work the contractor and City of Tucson representatives walk the site. At that time any minor items or items in need of correction are identified. These items typically do not impact the overall functionality of the project and could include things such as replacement/completion of landscape items, damaged concrete curb or sidewalk, lighting that isn’t functioning as anticipated, adjustments to irrigation or water harvesting systems or restoration of temporary construction easements.
Back to Top

What is the purpose of the Indirect Left Turns? What is the empirical data that supports the decision?

When the Grant Road Project is complete, there will be seven Indirect Left Turn intersections between Oracle and Swan. This innovative concept resulted from recommendations by the Grant Road Planning consultant that was awarded the planning contract for all five miles of Grant Road in 2007. This consultant had experience in Michigan where several hundred Indirect Left Turn intersections have been constructed in past years with great success. After much consideration, the Tucson Department of Transportation agreed with the proposed concept and the idea was presented to the Grant Road Citizen Task Force and the general public during one of the most involved roadway planning efforts in the City’s history. The Indirect Left Turn concept was approved during this planning process because it offered the following benefits:

  1. These left turn designs reduce vehicular crashes by 16% and injury crashes by 30% by reducing the number of potential conflict points at each intersection
  2. They reduce pedestrian crossing distance by approximately 20 feet by eliminating the left turn lanes at the intersection.
  3. Studies over the past 50 years have shown the average wait times at Indirect Left Turn intersections are much shorter than if that same intersection had a traditional four-phase traffic signal with protected left-turn movements. They increase the green time for through movements east-west and west-east by about 40% by eliminating the left turn signal phase.
  4. They reduce fuel consumption by approximately 9% by reducing the amount of time cars spend idling at the intersection.
  5. By reducing the intersection size, right-of-way costs are reduced.

TDOT understands that the Indirect Left Turn is a concept new to Tucson and there will be some issues to be worked out as the signal timing and phasing are calibrated. However, TDOT has constructed one Indirect Left Turn on Grant Road at Oracle as part of Phase I of the Grant Road Improvement Project. This turn has worked well so far, delivering the benefits of safety, fuel savings, and right-of-way savings that were anticipated by the designers. TDOT expects this will be the case with additional Indirect Left Turns as they are designed and constructed in future phases of the Grant Road Project.
Back to Top

NOISE WALL INFORMATION

Noise Wall Information

The City1 and RTA policy states that noise walls are considered when future noise levels at sensitive receivers (such as a domestic residences, educational institutions, hospitals, etc.) will exceed 66 dBA or when a sensitive receiver would experience a 15 dBA noise increase. In addition, a wall needs to benefit more than one receiver and effectively reduce noise levels (for example frequent openings in walls reduce their effectiveness for noise mitigation). Another major consideration in design of a noise barrier is its visual impact on the surrounding area. A tall barrier near a one-story, single family, detached residential area can have a negative effect in restricting views, loss of sunlight and need for maintenance of the barrier.

On Grant Road rubberized asphalt will be used where warranted to reduce the noise generated by tire/pavement friction near noise-sensitive receivers. Rubberized asphalt consists of regular asphalt paving mixed with “crumb rubber” -- ground, used tires that would otherwise be discarded or take up space in landfills. Rubberized asphalt has the benefit of being smoother and quieter. Noise readings have shown that rubberized asphalt generally reduces tire noise by an average of 4 decibels.

The need for additional noise mitigation beyond rubberized asphalt is evaluated for each design segment following the RTA’s Noise Abatement Policy, which is applied to all RTA projects. Additional noise mitigation could be achieved with the use of noise walls or earthen berms of a comparable height. Given the limited space available on Grant Road, noise walls would be more feasible than earthen berms.

A noise study was performed on Grant Road and it was found that there are no areas that meet the criteria for the installation of noise walls.. Based on the noise study, and RTA and City of Tucson Policies, no noise walls are planned for the Grant Road Project.

View Decibel Scale Chart

1. https://www.tucsonaz.gov/files/transportation/engineering/APG_26_TrafNoiseAbatement.pdf
Back to Top

REAL ESTATE

Who is Tierra Right-of-Way and what is their role in the project?

Tierra Right-of-Way is a business providing real estate-related services and is under contract to the City of Tucson’s Transportation Real Estate Division. Please contact the Grant Road Improvement Project Information Line at 520-624-4727 or email information@grantroad.info for more information.
Back to Top

How does the property acquisition process work?

Property owners can begin to learn about the real estate purchase process by viewing ‘Acquisition 101’ materials online.  Presentation slides and an accompanying brochure can give you some initial information about the steps involved, as well as the rights property owners and tenants have, please click here
Back to Top

How far in advance will I be notified if my property is to be acquired?

A key point in the design process for property owners occurs at the 30%-completed design.  At 30% the properties with structural impacts are determined. The full extent of impacts to all other properties can not be determined until after the 60% design plans are completed, and the parameters of the new right of way line established. However, it's important to note that the impacts may continue to be reviewed and revised through final design.  An Open House will be conducted at this point, and impacted property owners, neighborhoods, businesses, and the general public will be invited to attend, view the designs, and learn more about the project.  Because you are added to the email list for the Grant Road project, you will receive an invitation.
Back to Top

Is there an early acquisition program?

Although there was at one point consideration of an early acquisition program, funding levels do not currently allow for one.
Back to Top

>>More Real Estate Information

PUBLIC ART

How does the public art process work?

In each RTA project there is a portion of the budget allocated for public art (1% of construction budget.) The artist is selected by a public art panel that consists of stakeholders that represent respective groups such as neighborhood, business, etc. After artist selection, the panel provides the artists with aesthetic ideas. The artist then provides concepts. These concepts are shown to the public at open houses for input and a final decision is made. More information about Grant Road’s Public Art Master Plan is at: http://grantroad.info/public-art
Back to Top

SCHEDULE

What is the current project schedule?

  1. Phase 2 (Castro Avenue to Santa Rita Avenue): Construction is scheduled to start in March 2017
  2. Phase 3 + 4 (Palo Verde Avenue to Swan Road): Construction is planned to begin in 2019
  3. Phase 5 + 6 (Santa Rita Avenue to Palo Verde Avenue): Construction is planned to begin in 2021.

Back to Top

How did the City determine the schedule and phasing of Grant Road?

A reconstruction phasing concept was recommended to and endorsed by the Grant Road Task Force on December 16, 2009. Development of the reconstruction phasing concept resulted from an analytical assessment of reconstruction phasing options that considered the following.

  • Construction project limits
  • RTA funding schedule and project construction and right-of-way cost
  • Project delivery duration
  • Coordination with other projects
  • Community input
  • Project need based on a review of safety and congestion

For more information, please go to http://grantroad.info/pdf/plan_design_concept_report.pdf
For additional information on schedule please go to http://grantroad.info/pdf/project-phases-map_042414.pdf
Back to Top

PAVEMENT CONDITION

What is the City doing in the interim to keep Grant Road driveable?

The City understands the need to repair potholes and prevent further road deterioration. The City improved the roadway via a mill and overlay pavement preservation project in 2015. This work addressed the pothole issue in the segment between Santa Rita Ave. and Columbus Blvd. until the roadway undergoes widening improvements.

If you have any specific concerns regarding potholes, please report them to the Pothole Hotline: (520) 291-3154 or email TDOTStreetsTrafficMaint@tucsonaz.gov. Please note that when you report potholes, the more detailed information you can provide on the location of the pothole, including approximate address, direction (eastbound, northbound, etc.), lane information, the easier it is for our City personnel to find these problem areas in order to fix them.
Back to Top

UTILITIES ON GRANT ROAD

Will utilities be underground on the Grant Road Corridor?

Utilities will not be relocated underground on the Grant Road Corridor.

While underground power lines are more aesthetically pleasing and less subject to storm and other types of damage incidents than overhead pole lines, they are also much more difficult and costly to design, accommodate, build, repair and relocate.

The Grant Road project currently includes both overhead distribution (14kV) and sub-transmission feeder (46kV) facilities, as well as some underground service connections.

Underground electrical infrastructure design, construction, right of way and environmental requirements differs from overhead pole line infrastructure.

  1. Underground construction has a larger excavation footprint to the project in terms of land area and increased environmental impacts occur, increasing costs for installation and maintenance.
  2. Construction is a more costly build due to the excavation of civil tranches, as well as underground equipment such as ducts & pull boxes and above ground cabinets and transformers. As well as the loss of vegetation during and after construction.
  3. Equal or greater quantities of right of way for construction are required for occupancy of electrical ducts, electrical conductor, pull boxes and above ground appurtenances such as pedestals, transformers and above ground cabinets including maintenance access.
  4. The design and construction of underground distribution and transmission lines require separate subsurface pull boxes which increases the number of pull boxes required overall, within the right of way of the project.
  5. Construction criteria and costs increase from distribution class to sub-transmission class infrastructure for overhead and underground. However, the cost for undergrounding is a significant cost increase related to the underground duct system and more so when sub-transmission is involved. For example all 46kV underground requires larger duct sizes and is concrete encased for insulation of the lines, which significantly increase costs and construction time.
  6. Please note that the majority of the existing electric services to the homes and businesses on Grant Road are overhead. Underground would connect to existing overhead services via risers located within the right-­of-way, with services extending to the residences or businesses.
  7. When overhead lines get knocked down, it is a pretty straightforward task for power crews to see where the problem is and get the lines put back up quickly. However, when there is a fault on an underground power line, finding the problem and fixing it is not as straightforward. If there is a problem with underground wire, specialized locating equipment must be brought in to find the problem, every other utility that is buried in the area must be located so that they don’t get damaged during the repair process and heavy equipment must be brought in. It is a much longer and much more involved process to fix underground power lines.

Safety is also an issue when dealing with any overhead and underground power lines. Overhead power lines are in plain sight to the public while underground power lines are not nearly as visible. A change from overhead to underground facilities does not eliminate the need for the residences and businesses to be aware of power line and underground safety regulations.

And lastly, utility companies are regulated by various agencies. TEP is an overhead utility company, and is monitored by regulatory agencies and requirements. As an overhead utility company the cost to construct underground facilities in lieu of overhead facilities cannot just be passed on to their customer base/rate payers. In this case the City of Tucson would have to agree to participate in the cost of undergrounding overhead facilities as the project is the driver for the TEP relocation work. That would result in the City paying for the cost of the design and construction of the civil infrastructure as well as a cost differential between the estimated overhead electrical construction cost and the actual underground electrical costs.
Back to Top

DRAINAGE

Will any drainage improvements be completed as part of the Grant Road corridor project?

Drainage improvements to mitigate flooding in the vicinity of Columbus Wash began in September 2016 and should be complete in early 2017. This project will install a new underground drainage system between Catalina Avenue and Belvedere Avenue via Lester Street, and make utility improvements at various locations on Catalina Avenue, Belvedere Avenue, and Lester Street that will include sewer, water, and drainage upgrades.
 

Information regarding the Columbus Wash Drainage Improvement project can be found online at http://grantroad.info/columbus-wash-drainage-. will be constructed 2016– 2017. Questions and additional information can be obtained by calling Santiago Lozano, TDOT at (520) 780-8853 or Chris Hoey at Clear Contracting at (520) 784-8433.


Back to Top