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Left-turn restrictions proposed for Grant Road widening

Work on $166M project set to start in 2013

Bookmans and Walgreens, at Grant Road and Campbell Avenue, could face the wrecking ball if the city approves a proposed realignment of Grant Road.

Bookmans and Walgreens, at Grant Road and Campbell Avenue, could face the wrecking ball if the city approves a proposed realignment of Grant Road.

Motorists won’t be able to turn left at seven major intersections on Grant Road from Oracle to Swan roads if the Grant Road Improvement Plan unveiled Monday is adopted.

Also, some familiar landmarks on Grant would be destined for the wrecker’s ball as part of the $166 million project to widen the thoroughfare to three lanes in each direction from Oracle to Swan. Construction is expected to begin in 2013.

Drivers would not be able to turn left from Grant at Swan Road, Alvernon Way, Country Club Road, Campbell Avenue, First Street, Stone Avenue and Oracle Road.

An indirect left turn, also called the Michigan left, for where it is regularly used, would have drivers go through the intersection, make a U-turn and return to the intersection for a right-hand turn.

No left-hand turn lanes would exist at the intersections if the Michigan left turns are adopted.

The widening project will be done in three phases: Oracle to First Avenue, First Avenue to Tucson Boulevard, and Tucson Boulevard to Swan Road – not necessarily in that order.

If begun in 2013, work would not be completed until 2026.

Public hearings on the project will be held Oct. 15, 16 and 18. A public comment period will last until Nov. 17.

Design of the 5-mile-long widened roadway will begin next year.

Businesses likely to be hit include Bookmans and Walgreens, on the south side of Grant at Campbell Avenue; the Tire Corral, 302 E. Grant Road; and a Shell service station just east of Euclid Avenue.

A total of 421 properties, including some residences, would be affected – either with partial takings or full buyouts, Andrew Singelakis, deputy director of the Tucson Transportation Department, said Monday.

The proposal shows 153 full acquisitions and 268 partial ones.

Transportation officials and the city’s consulting firm on the project, Kimley-Horn, huddled in open meetings for more than a year with the 18-member Grant Road Improvement Task Force to come up with the preferred alignment.

The City Council would have to approve the alignment before the project could begin. A vote is expected early next year.

With approval, transportation officials would begin talks with property owners whose homes and businesses were in the path of the widened roadway. Acquisitions would start in 2010, Singelakis said.

The project would have an average 137-foot-wide cross-section, and also would include frontage roads and buffer zones between the widened road and the remaining homes and businesses. It also would include pedestrian crosswalks with signals and safety medians; bus pullouts and shelters; landscaping; pedestrian and separate bicycle lanes; and, possibly, rail lines for streetcars or light rail.

Plans do not include a two-level intersection at Grant Road and Campbell Avenue. Voters have repeatedly rejected projects that included a grade-separated intersection at the corner.

Property owners whose land or businesses would be affected were informed Monday.

FioRito’s Italian Restaurant, 2702 E. Grant, would be taken for the project.

“We received a certified letter today (Monday),” said Padraic Finan, owner of the restaurant, which has been a fixture on Grant since 1978.

City officials have told him that properties along his section of Grant likely wouldn’t be affected by construction until 2017, which would give Finan and his 15 to 20 employees plenty of time to prepare.

Finan said he was not surprised the proposed alignment hits his property.

Finan said the city will have to consider both the value of land and of the businesses that will either move or close.

“The hard part will be how to assess 30 years in the community,” Finan said.

Susan Compton, owner of the Bay Horse Tavern, which has been at the southeast corner of Grant and Treat Avenue since 1958, said she was not surprised her business is among those that would be acquired, either through a sale or condemnation.

“When I bought the business, they were set to widen Grant. That was in the early 1990s,” Compton said.

She said the project will be in large part “urban renewal,” where longtime businesses and homeowners will make way for newer ones.

James Hogan, a member of the Grant Road Improvement Task Force, said grappling with alignments for the Grant-Campbell intersection was among the most difficult chores for the group.

“We did five alternative scenarios,” he said.

Whether properties affected by the proposed alignment will run up against city historic structure or neighborhood regulations was considered, Singelakis said.

Owners of affected properties will receive relocation benefits at the time the properties are acquired, he said.

Grant Road Lumber, 2543 E. Grant Road, is in danger of being torn down as part of the Grant Road realignment project.

Grant Road Lumber, 2543 E. Grant Road, is in danger of being torn down as part of the Grant Road realignment project.

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ANIMATION OF THE PROPOSED LEFT TURNS

CLICK HERE

WIDENING OF GRANT ROAD

What: Six lanes, with new intersections and medians; pedestrian crosswalks with signals; bus pullouts; and bicycle lanes

Where: Oracle to Swan roads

When: Phased construction to start in 2013

Cost: $166 million

Funding: Regional Transportation Authority, $160 million from half-cent sales tax approved by county voters in May 2006; city contribution: $6 million

Land acquisition costs: Unknown but included in the overall $166 million estimated project cost

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TASK FORCE

Grant Road Improvement Task Force categories and members:

Alternate modes – P. Wayne Cullop

Businesses – Barbara Bird, James R. Hogan, Nancy R. Laney, Michael Midkiff, Fletcher R. Sliker, Robert Tait

City Manager’s Office – Jay Young

Neighborhoods – Judith Anderson, Sarah T. Evans, Roy A. Garcia Sr., Alice Roes, Beverly Rutter, Marshall John Shultis

Region – Tom Bush, Mike Humphrey, Moon Joe Yee

Citizen Transportation Advisory Committee – Jamey Sumner

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PUBLIC MEETINGS

Three public meetings are scheduled on the proposed alignment for the widening of Grant Road.

The project, with construction starting in 2013, would widen Grant to three lanes in each direction from Oracle to Swan roads.

Oracle Road to First Avenue segment: from 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 15 at Executive Inn and Suites, 333 W. Drachman St.

First Avenue to Tucson Boulevard segment: 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 16 at Salpointe Catholic High School, 1545 E. Copper St.

Tucson Boulevard to Swan Road: noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 18 at Catalina High School, 3645 E. Pima St.

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IMPROVEMENT PLAN

Download a pdf of the proposed Grant Road widening alignment: www.tucsoncitizen.com/downloads

The city’s Grant Road Project page: www.grantroad.info

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Online Poll: What do you think of the city's left-turn plans in the Grant Road widening plan?
It's a great idea.: 19%
It's dumb. Just use left turn arrows.: 71%
I don't understand them.: 6%
I don't know.: 2%
236 users voted

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