View video coverage from past public hearings on our youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/sssrtucson.
Widening of SR83 as part of the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan
Attend the PAG Regional Council Meeting March 29th, 12 PM, 177 N Church Ave, Suite #501 (this meeting will be open to the public)
Comments are due by March 16, 2012
Completed Comment Forms (click to download form) can be sent, e-mailed or faxed to:
Pima Association of Governments
Attn: Melissa Minerich
177 N. Church Ave, #405, Tucson, AZ, 85701
Fax: (520) 620-6981
Following are our recommendations on how to comment:
- It is important to have improvements to SR83 included in the RTP for the safety and enjoyment of residents and visitors.
- We recommend, however, that the recommended improvements to SR83 be limited, at this time, to adding shoulders, pavement replacement, and bus pullouts to the existing 2 lane scenic highway. Population increase projections for the Sonoita/Elgin/Patagonia area alone do not justify the need for a four lane highway and there is no guarantee that the proposed Rosemont Mine will be approved. It is therefore premature to include plans for a four lane highway in the RTP at this time.
- If there is justification for a four lane highway when funding for planning improvements to SR83 becomes available, then those improvements should be incorporated at that time. If those improvements are necessary due to commercial activity such as the proposed Rosemont mine, then the commercial entity should be required to fund the improvements.
For more background on this issue:
Download the 2040 RTP Update/Amendment Overview – February 2012
At the Pima Association of Governments (PAG) open house on February 18, 2012 we learned that it is important for transportation projects to be part of the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) in order for a project to effectively compete for federal or other transportation funds. The RTP was approved by the PAG Regional Council in July, 2010. Recently the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) requested that one of the projects in the RTP (the widening of I10W from Prince to the Pima County line) be amended. Since an amendment to the plan was being requested, PAG asked the jurisdictions involved in PAG to suggest any other changes needed. This process led to the recommendation to amend the plan to add six new projects and revisions to six existing projects.
We were most interested in learning more about the justification for ADOT’s addition of a project to widen SR83 to four lanes from I10 to the Pima County line and the Wilmot Siding Rail extension. We learned that all three of the railroad projects had been “on the books” for over 10 years and were being added in order for Pima County to be able to successfully compete for grants from federal or rail funding sources.
Todd Emery, ADOT Tucson District Engineer, explained that the SR83 project was being proposed as an amendment due to anticipated changes in the use of the highway, including commercial development such as the proposed Rosemont Mine. He noted that SR83 needs a number of improvements in any case including adding shoulders, pavement replacement, and bus pullouts. The need for four lanes would depend on anticipated traffic volume caused by a variety of factors including projected population growth and commercial activity. He stated that if the proposed Rosemont Mine is approved, Rosemont would need a permit from ADOT to access and use SR 83 and that they would be required to pay for any improvements that ADOT would determine were attributable to Rosemont’s use of SR83. If Rosemont is not willing to pay for the improvements they would not be granted an ADOT permit.
The next step in this process is the public comment period, which ends on March 16th. On March 29, 2012 at noon PAG will present the amendments and all the comments received to the PAG Regional Council. This meeting is open to the public, so plan to attend. The Regional Council is the deciding body on whether to approve the amendments to the RTP.
For information about the council, and for meeting location information, visit PAG’s website.