The Downtown Links road construction project in central Tucson is approximately halfway toward creating a new connection between Broadway Boulevard, Barraza-Aviation Parkway and Interstate 10. The new corridor will allow motorists to bypass downtown Tucson streets to reach the freeway.
The project was decades in the making and is one of 35 roadway corridors in the Regional Transportation Authority’s voter-approved regional transportation plan. The work includes reconstruction of the Arroyo Chico culvert from Sixth Avenue to 10th Avenue; construction of a new Sixth Street alignment, Sixth Avenue bridge and traffic underpass, a new Ninth Avenue deck plaza; and construction of the new four-lane roadway and a shared-use pathway from Sixth Street to Broadway Boulevard.
David Burbank is the Downtown Links project manager at the City of Tucson Department of Transportation and Mobility. He provided the following update as construction crews launch the second half of the project.
What’s been done
Drainage work underneath and near the new roadway was completed earlier this year and will help alleviate flooding in neighborhoods near downtown. A new Sixth Avenue overpass has been constructed, and Sixth Avenue has reopened north of downtown.
The connection of Barraza-Aviation Parkway at Broadway has been updated for the new road that continues north of Broadway, and new traffic signals were installed at that intersection.
What’s happening now
Crews are working in the intersection of Stone and the former Sixth Street alignment to complete the new drainage system for the Stone Avenue underpass. The former pump system has been removed and a gravity drainage system is being installed. The work is anticipated to be completed and the road reopened in mid-September, though the schedule could be affected by monsoon storms.
Work is underway on a new box culvert to move water at the Sixth Street underpass, which will tie into ongoing drainage work on the west end of the project. Crews also are beginning to shore up the Sixth Street area for the alternative train routing necessary to construct a new Sixth Street underpass.
Drivers can expect a closure at Stone Avenue for approximately two days at the end of September as crews add a new pedestrian bridge on the north side of Stone.
When the Sixth Street drainage work is completed at the end of the year, construction will begin on the railroad diversion, called a shoofly, which will enable trains to bypass the construction zone while a new Sixth Street bridge for trains is built.
Just south of Sixth Street, the Union Pacific Railroad tracks will diverge west from the existing alignment and rejoin the main tracks near Stone. Crews will then build the bridge for the Sixth Street underpass and tie the new drainage there into the rest of the drainage system. About 18 months later, the underpass will be complete, and the trains will be routed back to their permanent alignment over Sixth Street.
By the end of the year, the east end of the project will reach substantial completion, meaning most of the construction will be completed between Barraza-Aviation Parkway and Stone Avenue. Work from Stone Avenue to Interstate 10 will continue through the project’s remaining timeline.
Estimated project completion