By Patrick McNamara for Arizona Daily Star
Construction on the long-awaited Sabino Canyon Road extension to Kolb Road could start within a few months.
After growing tired of federal bureaucratic delays, the Regional Transportation Authority board decided to fully fund the project, taking the Federal Highway Administration out of the equation.
In March, Tucson and Arizona Department of Transportation officials said they were waiting for the go-ahead from the Federal Highway Administration, which planned to kick in $13M to help pay for the project. Total costs for the extension are estimated at $22M.
The Sabino Canyon connection was first scheduled to begin in 2009 but neighborhood concerns and federal requirements have held it up.
The final plan will consist of two bridges south of the extension between Udall Park and a neighborhood to the west. The northern bridge will cross an area that once was a landfill. The second will cross the Pantano Wash north of Speedway and empty onto Kolb Road.
The project is expected to begin in the fall and take about a year to complete.
But just because city and RTA officials decided to boot the feds from the Sabino Canyon and Kolb project doesn’t mean they’ll forgo that $13M. Instead, the RTA swapped funding with the Ajo Way and Interstate 19 interchange project.
An environmental assessment has already been completed for that project, so the federal requirements have been met.
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