The moving of utility lines has begun to take place along Oracle Road between Tangerine Road and the Pima and Pinal county line in preparation for the Oracle Road widening project.
The project is headed by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) to widen the roadway to improve traffic flow and enhance the safety on the heavily-traveled segment of the road.
The current utility work includes moving the utility lines so they do not interfere or conflict with the widened roadway.
The project is estimated to cost $44.5 million, which will be funded primarily through ADOT and the Pima Association of Governments. The project will open for bid on Sept. 20. Construction on the road, which will be a two-year project, is anticipated to begin either late 2013 or early 2014.
In addition to a 12-foot wide lane in each direction, making for a total of six lanes of traffic, the road will have 10-foot wide shoulders, which will allow cyclists to use the widened shoulders. The asphalt used for the project will be rubberized asphalt to cut down on noise.
The project will also include two wildlife-crossing structures, which will allow wildlife to migrate safely between the Santa Catalina and Tortolita mountains. One of the crossings will go under Oracle Road and the other will go over the road. The wildlife-crossing project also includes the addition of fencing along the corridor, which will essentially funnel wildlife from the areas to the crossings.
The crossing structures are made possible by using a portion of $45 million that RTA has allocated for wildlife crossings.
The wildlife-crossing project is planned to coincide with the ADOT widening project.