August 31, 2005 - The Marana Town Council gave unanimous approval Aug. 23 to advertise for bids to widen Thornydale Road to six lanes from south of Orange Grove Road to the Cañada Del Oro Wash next year.
With construction starting in January, Thornydale Road will be widened to three lanes in each direction, with multiuse lanes and a double left turn lane into Costco Drive. Town officials say they hope to finish acquiring right of way by December and have the project completed by November 2006.
Jim DeGrood, Marana's executive assistant to the town manager, said the town deliberately delayed the project until after the holiday season to minimize the effect on businesses. The town is encouraging that the roadwork be done at night so Thornydale will be free from construction during daylight hours and at least during rush hour, he said.
"One of the things we've been very mindful of is how much this project is going to impact the businesses along Thornydale Road," he said in a brief presentation during a council study session last week.
DeGrood spoke of a business assistance program in which the town will provide consulting services to businesses in the area, but he said helping businesses with advertising would not be a focus.
"This is not any kind of cash compensation being made available to businesses for lost business," he said.
DeGrood noted that businesses along the affected portion of Thornydale Road contribute more than $4 million annually to the town's retail sales tax revenues. The majority of those places are small businesses, which are often unable to deal with the effects that construction can have on sales volume, according to information he presented to the council.
Ed Stolmaker, executive director of the Marana Chamber of Commerce, said the town's effort to offer consulting services is appreciated by the business community.
"From the chamber's point of view, this is a positive direction," he said. "We'll be working with the town and the business community to make this work for all parties."
The town hopes to hire a contractor based on both price and ability to work within the town's desired schedule, DeGrood said, adding that access to most businesses will not be affected during daytime hours.
Vice Mayor Herb Kai said he'd like to see some performance incentives worked into the contract with rewards for completing the project on schedule and encouraging a minimum of change orders.
"That's really something we're trying to put into this project," DeGrood said.
Other components of the project include re-striping Thornydale north of the CDO Wash; new signals at Orange Grove, Costco Drive and Horizon Hills; a landscaped median; continuous sidewalks and curb, gutter and drainage improvements.