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Transport Improvements Help Tucson Area

Credit: Inside Tucson Business

By Brad Allis for Inside Tucson Business

A number of current and future transportation improvements will help business in the Tucson area. From Vail to Marana, there are a number of ways vehicles come into the area and money is being spent to improve travelling for planes, trains and automobiles.

The Tucson International Airport will be undergoing a lot of changes over the next few years.

The biggest project will be the Terminal Optimization Program that has already started and will run for 18 months.

The most visible portion of the project will be changes up front where some of the existing, unused ticket counters will be replaced and the TSA security checkpoints will be moved from the throats leading up to the concourse to the front of the airport.

Less visible but just as important is the infrastructure upgrade to the terminal building itself. The original building is over 50 years old, and although there have been some expansions, improvements to backbone infrastructure like electrical and HVAC are much needed.

They are midway through their project to put solar arrays in the parking area. With a few in place they are currently saving $200,000 and will soon double that when the project is complete. A side benefit of solar panels is that they provide semi-covered parking.

A new $26M dollar, FAA funded air traffic control tower is complete and the FAA is in the process of completing the technology aspects of the project. They are expected to make the switch in mid-August.

Next fall they will begin an $18M runway rehabilitation, which is not expected to impact travel at all.

The so-called “Sonoran Corridor” will also have an impact on the airport. With over 8,300 acres of land, much of it undeveloped as a sound buffer, there is room for additional development.

The ever growing Port of Tucson is already getting a lot of business from Mexico and that will only grow with the eventual implementation of I-11.

The Port of Tucson is an inland port, 700-800 miles from a deep sea port, that does a lot of the container-based operations that a traditional port would do but does it inland. It is 767-acre business park close to I-10 and the rail road that has 2MSF of warehousing, with 100KSF of refrigerated warehousing.

The Ina Road Traffic Interchange Project will have the biggest impact on the average citizen. The project will build an overpass over I-10 and the Union Pacific Railroad and widen I-10. The project will shut down the Ina on and off ramps for nearly two years.

Having Ina go over the freeway and the railroad tracks is a key part of the project to help alleviate traffic congestion in the area.

According to Kevin Thornton, who leads the design team, over 100 trains come through the area each day.

I-10 will be widened, big enough to accommodate four lanes, but will be kept at three lanes until similar projects are completed in the future.

Read more at Inside Tucson Business

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