Final paving set for Oracle Road

That last, bumpy stretch of Oracle Road is about to get a fresh new coat of asphalt.

Full-scale paving on Oracle’s six lanes from Ina to River roads is planned to begin the evening of Sunday, May 14, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

When work is finished this summer, ADOT will have completed a two-year Oracle Road facelift and infrastructure installation that stretches from I-10 and Miracle Mile in Tucson all the way to Tangerine Road in Oro Valley.

Within it, primary contractor Granite Construction and its subcontractors have added northbound left-hand turn lanes at busy Magee, and smoothed out the ragged, also-bustling intersection on at First Avenue in Oro Valley.

Improvement of the region’s transportation lifeline has been done within budget — $34 million for three separate projects from Calle Concordia to I-10 — and on a “slightly extended” schedule, in part because of the relative lack of available concrete, according to Joanna Bradley, community relations project manager for ADOT.

“Once paving is complete, crews will complete punch list items,” she said. “The project as a whole will be completed in late summer of this year, with most of that work not affecting traffic.”

Oracle Road is “especially challenging” to ADOT and its contractors, Bradley said.

There are more than 1,500 businesses along the project corridor, and access to those businesses has been needed — and accommodated — through all phases of work.

In addition, Oracle has “extremely high traffic counts,” reaching about 50,000 vehicles on a typical day, Bradley said.

Weather is always a factor in road construction. Monsoon rains cause delays in construction, and temperatures between October and March are too cool to allow for paving work, she said.

Nighttime work is “better to minimize delays,” Bradley said, but is “challenging for residents and the contractor.”

Once more, paving of the last stretch of Oracle will be done at night, and require about eight weeks — through July — Bradley said.

Preliminary paving of test strips, driveway and side-street entrances from Ina Road, at the south boundary of Oro Valley, toward River Road and the city of Tucson was slated to begin Sunday, May 7. That work should be done by Friday, May 12, according to ADOT.

Then, starting Sunday, May 14, crews are expected to begin resurfacing the road itself.

The work is “long-awaited and coming soon,” Bradley said. Ina to River had the most off-road work, with new sidewalks, curb, gutter, drainage and lighting installations requiring completion before paving can begin.

“The good news for drivers is not only that a smoother driving surface is coming,” Bradley said. “As we’ve done throughout the project, paving work will be restricted to overnight hours to minimize delays.”

Most work will take place between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday nights, except for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July holidays. As has been Granite’s practice, one lane will remain open at all times during the nighttime work. During the day, all six lanes will be open, with business access always maintained.

When it is finished, ADOT will have rehabilitated pavement from I-10 and Miracle Mile to Calle Concordia, installed new LED streetlights from River to Ina, and improved roadway drainage throughout. Utilities have been relocated, two bridges rehabilitated, driveways reconstructed, and a storm drain system installed from Orange Grove to River.

Signals and intersections are being improved between River and Ina. Sidewalks and sidewalk ramps, compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, have been installed from I-10 and Miracle Mile to River. New ADA-approved ramps, sidewalks and driveways are in place between River and Magee.

The section of Oracle from Calle Concordia to Magee within Oro Valley was resurfaced during the summer of 2021. Then, following installation of sidewalk, curb and gutter, crews resurfaced Oracle from Magee to Ina.

During the final work, motorists can expect a reduced speed limit and uneven pavement. They should be wary of heavy equipment, ADOT said.

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