Did you know every Regional Transportation Authority roadway corridor project has drainage improvements included?
Drainage improvements help ensure roadway safety by reducing flooded streets or fast-running washes overflowing onto roads. This is particularly obvious during the monsoon. Another impact of drainage improvements is to help reduce stormwater pollution by funneling water through designated channels, so it has fewer opportunities to pick up contaminating garbage and pollutants along the way.
What do these RTA drainage improvements look like?
As part of the Grant Road widening project, a large water retention basin was added along the south side of Grant between Euclid and Park avenues. Like retention basins, some RTA projects feature visible, drainage work, such as channels for water to flow alongside the shoulder area, or bridges over washes to keep drivers out of the flowing water.
On other projects, the drainage work is less visible after construction. The Downtown Links project includes underground culverts that will be able to carry large volumes of water to the Santa Cruz River channel to help divert it from neighborhood streets and reduce residential flood likelihood.
These improvements help with traffic flow by keeping dangerous flooding away from buses, cars, bicycles and pedestrians and send our water to the right places to recharge the aquifer.
Stormwater pollution is a concern in the Tucson metropolitan area, so even with drainage improvements on transportation projects, we all must consider the impacts of where we put our trash, how we maintain our vehicles, and how we dispose of hazardous waste.