By Murphy Woodhouse for Arizona Daily Star
As it stands, Pima County’s well-known Loop paved path system is not technically a loop.
However, work on tap in 2017 will bring a closed, car-free metro circuit much closer to reality. Additional projects planned for other parts of The Loop, as well as separate path systems that feed into at, will add safety features and distance to what already resembles a parallel road system for walkers, runners and riders.
One of the largest remaining gaps in The Loop is between East Tanque Verde Road and North Craycroft Road in Pantano River Park. Crews are already working on a path extension between Tanque Verde and East Glenn Street, which is expected to be complete by fall.
There’s also work afoot in the Marana area. Already underway is an extension of The Loop from the El Rio Neighborhood Park in the Continental Ranch area north to West Avra Valley Road, which should be completed by the spring.
Further east, crews working on Tangerine Road are adding a dedicated paved bike path that will pass by the planned 18-acre Tangerine Sky Park.
Closer to the urban core, the city and county are also moving forward in 2017 on different sections of what will eventually be the 6-mile El Paso and Southwestern Greenway.
Much of the path will be put in by the Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department’s contractor KE&G Construction Inc., which is upgrading the sewer system between West Simpson and 36th streets.
The access road for the sewer project from 25th Street to 36th Street, which will eventually double as the greenway, will be paved by the early summer.
For its part, the city of Tucson is moving ahead on right-of-way acquisitions for its portions of the greenway. Work on the path between West 22nd Street and Simpson isn’t expected until 2018.
Starting Jan. 9, crews will build a bike and pedestrian bridge over North Camino de la Tierra on the south bank of the Rillito River. It is currently an at-grade crossing.
The Arizona Department of Transportation’s massive West Ina Road-Interstate 10 interchange project will shut down portions of The Loop near Ina for about two years.
Read more at Arizona Daily Star.
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