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Jun 28, 2012 7:42 PM

Grant Road construction to begin

TUCSON - The first phase of the Grant Road improvement project is scheduled to begin July 19 at the intersection of Grant and Oracle Roads. Improvements will be made on Grant Road from Oracle to Swan Roads until 2026.

Voters approved the 20-year project in 2006, which will be carried out in periods at a total cost of $160 million. The majority of the funding will come from the Regional Transportation Authority.

Many of the businesses along Grant Road will be impacted by construction during construction phases. Susan Alexander from Maggie Maye's Tucson Tattoo Studio will lose a few feet in front of her building, but she said she is looking forward to completion of the project. "Nothing is going to stay the same," she said. "Whether we widen the road or not things will change. So if we can direct that change in a way we would like then I think we're better off."

Alexander describes her business as, "a destination more than we are an impulse, drive-by business." She said she anticipates some loss of business but believes the project is more of a short-term pain, long-term gain scenario.

But across the street at Budget Insurance Associates Inc., Robert Tait worries that the 9 to 12 month-long project will hurt business and traffic. "We have a lot of customers who come in to pay their bills, to make changes and I would hate to see them not be able to have access to our property," he said.

Tait said he owns two properties along the first phase of the construction project, which will result in the loss of 18,000 square feet of parking lot. He is also considered about the heavy pedestrian traffic. "A two-lane dirt road with cones I think that danger gets a lot higher because there's no break in the traffic."

The plan's first phase of work at the Grant-Oracle Improvement project is expected to cost $7.6 million.

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