The Main Stream

Jul 30, 2012 9:20 PM

Collapsed road could take a week to fix

TUCSON - Clean up could take several days after weekend storms left behind a lot of damage, particularly on Tucson's northwest side.

Silverbell Road not only flooded, it literally caved in just south of Ina.

Huge chunks of the road were just gone with more and more pieces crumbling away throughout the day.

The area surrounding the road is used to a little flooding when it rains but near by residents said this was no average storm.

Lynne Owens lives just up the street from the damage. She said, "It just really came down. We could hear it on the house. It was really loud."

Her husband Jim added, "We're thankful for the water but 2.6 inches is over 20% of our annual and we got it all at once."

It turned the wash into a raging river and the road just couldn't take it.

David Cummings is with the Pima County Department of Transportation. He said, "The depth of erosion in this case was just so great that it eroded the wall and ended up taking out all the rock that was stabilizing it.

So it fell, chunk after chunk. The Owens family said they've noticed the road falling apart but didn't expect it to be as bad as it was. Jim said, "Even the pictures that I saw didn't show how bad it really was."

And that means bad news for their daily commute. Lynne said, "My post office is up there. My banks are up there. It's an important road to us."

The county knows how important it is, which is why the crews went straight to work. Cummings said, "We'll bring all the fill we can back into it including rock for stability. Build up all the fill again, come back and remove roadways we know are compromised and repave it."

That work won't be easy though. It could take up to a week, but the Owens said it's so bad, one week would be fine with them.

It's a little early to get an exact estimate on cost, but county workers ball parked it at a couple hundred thousand dollars. It's a lot of money but a lot cheaper than a total overhaul. The hope is, they can fix it up just enough to last a few years until its time for the already planned capital improvement project that would not only fix the flood issues but widen it.

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