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Tucson Plans for $101M in Road Projects

The Aerospace Parkway project will allow Raytheon – maker of the Maverick and AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles – to expand its Tucson plant. Photo credit: Wikipedia.com

By Luci Scott for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

Two major road projects are in the works over the next decade in Tucson worth $101.6M.  They are the 4.5-mile, $11.6M Aerospace Parkway and a $90M stretch from Aerospace Parkway to I-10 at Rita Road.

The Aerospace Parkway is a half-mile relocation of the Hughes access road, which was built when the Hughes aircraft plant was built in the 1950s and 1960s. That road is next to huge defense contractor Raytheon, which has built out most of its campus and lacks room to expand.

The lack of space at Raytheon’s site in Tucson caused the company to open a new facility in Alabama a few years ago when it wanted to build the Standard Missile-3, a defensive weapon used by the U.S. Navy.

Raytheon can expand

“By moving this road, we will create a 400-acre buffer that allows (Raytheon) to add three more buildings,” Moffatt said. “That’s the main goal – jobs – making sure we sustain them as a primary employer in southern Arizona.”

Groundbreaking for the Aerospace Parkway was held March 31, and construction is expected to be completed by Dec. 1. The civil engineer is AECOM, and the contractor is Ashton Construction of Tucson.

The Aerospace Parkway was designed and is being paid for by regional funding from the Pima Association of Governments.  Also involved in the project are Raytheon, the U.S. Air Force, the Tucson Airport Authority and the Arizona Air National Guard, which is getting 54 acres to expand for munitions storage.

Phase 2, the east-west connection to Rita Road, involves a $30M bond issue due to go to the voters in November.

“We would expect to hire engineering firms in 2016, with construction starting hopefully in mid-2017,” Moffatt said. The land is flat so it lacks a lot of engineering challenges. That is expected to be a $20M project.

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