When it is opened to traffic this Friday, Nov. 19, the combined Twin Peaks Interchange and Twin Peaks Road transportation corridor is going to change the way people travel, and live.

The full effect remains to be seen, according to Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson.

“Not until it’s actually in place will we realize how it affects our community, and individual lives,” Davidson said. “It’ll be amazing what happens after it opens. Once humans are able to start taking over that space, it’ll be neat to see … the whole new dynamic.”

“It is a true regional project, the goal of much of” the work funded through the Regional Transportation Authority, said Keith Brann, engineer for the Town of Marana. Several observers expect motorists in the north end of Oro Valley to use the roadway as they travel to and fro downtown Tucson, and to Tucson International Airport.

Officials believe Twin Peaks:

* Is going to improve commuting for residents of Marana’s Continental Ranch, and likely many others on both sides of I-10.

“There’s a lot of people that live to the west of I-10 in Marana” who are going to find benefit in the new interchange, said Todd Emery, district engineer for ADOT’s Tucson district.

“They had few options,” he continued. “This will now allow the people west of I-10 to get on I-10 directly to the east;”

* is going to link Continental Ranch and Dove Mountain. “We are building a beautiful corridor that physically links two area of our town,” Davidson said. “Traditionally, it’s been very difficult to get from one place to the other.” He predicts the Dove Mountain commuter will soon ask, “how did we live without this?”

“It’s great we’re connecting two major areas of the town,” said Jennifer Christelman, environmental engineering division manager for the Town of Marana.

Twin Peaks provides “a much nicer entry point to Dove Mountain,” Davidson said. “It’s beautifully landscaped, from an enhanced interchange with direct access straight up;”

* is going to ease congestion at the Cortaro Road interchange with I-10.

“It should reduce the burden on Cortaro significantly,” Brann said. “We’re looking forward to that.” And it’ll be open before the Black Friday holiday shopping day after Thanksgiving;

* is going to create new commercial opportunities, both at the I-10 interchange, and along the new roadways moving away from it.

“In the years to come, businesses, developers and entrepreneurs are going to look at that corridor as a gold mine,” Davidson predicts, “in ways we can’t even think of.”

Kimco, developer of the planned Marana Spectrum commercial project close to the foot of the new highway interchange, is a partner in its construction. “They now have the road network in place,” Davidson said. “They have the green light to do that.”

“The only reason Kimco bought the Marana Spectrum property is the Twin Peaks interchange,” Brann said. “That will be a major commercial corner, some day.”

On the northeast side of Twin Peaks Interchange, the Cascada master-planned community will someday hold 2,500 homes, along with commercial and shopping opportunities.

Marana’s next great challenge is on the west side of the interchange, where a Pima County island exists. “We need to make sure that gets annexed in,” Davidson said, “so we can encourage good development and growth along that west side;”

* should improve public safety.

Rodney Campbell, public information officer for the Town of Marana, said it’s important to note that Twin Peaks interchange crosses over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and avoids any vehicular/train interaction. That’s certain to improve the flow of traffic, enhance convenience for the traveling public and improve the ability of emergency crews to respond when summoned.

When bid opened, breath left

Town of Marana engineering officials Keith Brann and Scott Leska were in the room in Phoenix early in 2009, when bids were opened on the project to build the Twin Peaks Interchange across I-10 in Marana.

The engineer’s published estimate was near $75 million, though there was “conjecture” it might be built closer to $65 million, Brann said.

A bid from Pulice Construction was the first one opened. It was for $50 million.

“The whole room, everyone’s breath went,” said Leska, Marana’s engineering division manager for capital improvement projects. “We wondered, ‘can it go lower?’ It was an amazing thing. Every other contractor knew they had lost.”

“That bid just rippled through the engineering community,” said Brann, Marana’s town engineer. “This is the new world we’re in, at least for the next few years.”

“We’re always happy when a contractor gives us a lower bid than we anticipate,” said Todd Emery, district engineer for the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Tucson district. “There’s a lot of competition out there.”

The Pulice bid, and the new competitive environment, “allowed us to negotiate harder on Camino de Manana,” now called the Twin Peaks Road project from the new interchange to Tangerine Road at Dove Mountain Boulevard, Brann said.

The Regional Transportation Authority had funded Twin Peaks Road as a two-lane, with eventual expansion to four lanes. But, with a favorable construction price environment, “we were able to build it as four lanes up front,” Leska said. “We upfronted the rest of the funds.”

“Bid prices were as low as they’re ever going to be in the next 10 to 20 years,” Leska said. The price difference between two and four lanes was approximately $4 million, pushing the total price from $16 million to $19.5 million. Marana’s original estimate for four lanes was “$25 to $30 million,” Brann said.

“We still had to put the infrastructure in as if it were a four-lane,” Leska said.

“By the time you’re done, you’re really talking about surface paving,” Brann said. “You almost build the four-lane anyway.”

Borderland, the construction manager at-risk for the new road, “really didn’t blink an eye” about four lanes, Brann said. “They knew prices were low, and we knew.”

“We had a very, very good experience with Borderland,” the contractor at-risk on Twin Peaks Road, Leska said. “And a good one with Pulice.”

“Contract delivery changes the relationship,” Brann said. “Contractor at-risk is more of a collaboration.”

“ADOT played a huge role, and they were an excellent partner,” Leska said. “They were professional and good to work with.”

Twin Peaks Interchange ribbon-cutting ceremony

Thursday, Nov. 18, 3 p.m.

The junction of Twin Peaks

and Linda Vista.

The road opens Friday, Nov. 19

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