As the town continues to expand its roadways to meet the heavy demands of increasing traffic, La Cañada Drive remains a focus of construction in a list of major roadway improvement projects.

The section of the road stretching from Lambert Lane to Calle Concordia "has had problems," according to Steven Faaborg, senior civil engineering technician for Oro Valley. The project has been on hold from the town's end after encountering a fiber optic phone line running through a hill at the site that needs to be moved. Faaborg said the phone company is moving the line and he hopes to be getting on with the two to four lane widening project by the end of August. Concrete on the bridge there is scheduled to be poured over three days in August.

While road crews have been held up, Faaborg said the project is not yet behind schedule, as it is to be completed by the end of December. However, if it is too cold to finish the final step, pouring a layer of rubberized cement, they may have to come back after it warms up to officially complete it. The road segment being worked on is about half in Oro Valley and half in unincorporated Pima County, and the town has been working under an intergovernmental agreement to complete the project.

Further up the street, the town plans to extend La Cañada north to Moore Road, where developers there plan to extend Moore west to meet them.

The project is scheduled for completion in November or December of this year.

"It will go fast because there is no street there," Faaborg said, adding there is no through traffic or utility lines to deal with.

Faaborg said this is an important project for the town, particularly those living in Rancho Vistoso, because it provides another out for people who live in the area. Currently, almost all traffic uses First Avenue to get to Oracle Road and on to its destination. Extending La Cañada will allow access to Tangerine, Ina and other major roadways.

In order to get the project underway, the town is exchanging land with Fidelity National Trust, which owns a 3.52-acre parcel the extension will pass through, with a 4.12-acre parcel on the northwest side of the planned road owned by the town. The town also will acquire a 3.94-acre parcel from Fidelity National by the platting of the parcel by the developer, according to Town Engineer William Jansen, who reported the plans to the Town Council at the July 21 council meeting. The only costs associated with the trade will be those incurred to pay for the recording of the deed.

The Oracle Road Improvement project also is "designed and ready to go," Faaborg said, although when exactly shovels go in the ground and how long it will take to complete have not yet been nailed down. The area of Oracle between La Reserve and a planned Pusch View Lane extension will be widened to help alleviate some of the congestion there from heavy traffic.

"It's a problematic area," Faaborg said. "There are a lot of headaches with all the commuters."

Two two-lane bridges will be built over the Cañada del Oro Wash at Pusch View Lane and an additional two lane bridge will be added next to the existing bridge on First Avenue. The bridge projects are just getting underway and are expected to take up to 18 months to complete.

The dogleg on La Cholla Boulevard at Tangerine Road will be straightened out at the intersection by moving the northern part of La Cholla west in an improvement project begun this week. It is expected to take 90 days from start to completion.

Tangerine Road will be widened to include a left and right turning lane onto La Cholla and a traffic signal will be installed. Additionally, drainage and irrigated landscaping are planned as part of the project. Southern Arizona Paving will complete the project, bidding it at $658,000.

The town recently completed widening the section of Tangerine Road stretching from First Avenue to La Cañada Drive, with only some "minor landscaping" still to be finished, according to Faaborg. He said there should be no further impact to travel on this part of the road.

Next summer, widening First Avenue from the new bridge to Tangerine is scheduled. It is planned as a four lane divided roadway with a traffic signal at Naranja.

The town has several road improvement projects on the horizon, including widening the section of La Cañada from Tangerine to Naranja and widening a section of Lambert from Rancho Sonora to First Avenue. However, Faaborg said those projects are subject to change as the needs of the town change.

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