Jun 25, 2014 12:28 AM by Rebecca Taylor
TUCSON - A massive construction project along Houghton Road on the far east side is complete.
The 20 month improvement project from Irvington to Valencia finished on time and under budget at $21 million dollars. A ribbon cutting was held Tuesday.
Improvements include new traffic signals and signs, duel left turn lanes, bus pullouts along with upgraded drainage and new asphalt to cut noise.
Last year's monsoon flooded washes, roads and homes along the Houghton Road corridor. Some blamed that damage on the road construction.
How are people faring a year later?
Residents we talked to are split down the middle. Some love the smooth ride, while others fear a second round of monsoon flooding.
It's nicknamed 'The Flood of 2013' with rain so heavy, washes overflowed into homes. Some pointed the finger at the city for improper drainage. Others call it a freak accident by mother nature, that no one saw coming, or could have prepared for.
"Several of the homeowners experienced severe flooding in their homes, hundreds of thousands of dollars," said a residents who wants to remain anonymous.
Her house wasn't damaged but her neighbor's homes on both sides were.
"After that the fear of repeat flooding was petrifying so neighbors were sandbagging their houses," she said.
Since the area is not in a designated flood zone, some without optional flood insurance have had a hard time drying out, even one year later.
"I know one of my neighbors doesn't have carpet in her house or baseboards, she still has ruined cupboards so still recovering from it," said the woman.
To prevent future flooding the city has improved roads and drainage. The $21 million dollar price tag was funded by the City of Tucson, the RTA and Pima County.
Homeowner Bill Fry says, "I think it's good the city is spending money on roads."
Fry says he likes the new look all around.
"I think the bike lanes are good for safety, the wide lanes help the traffic flow much easier," he says, "my son lives out here too, he likes it. I talked to him and he likes being able to get in and out easier and we're definitely glad the constriction is done."
For others it's too little too late. The finished construction in their opinion isn't better, nor safer.
"I think my biggest concern is with them raising all the roads around us, what's going to happen this year when the rains start?" asks a neighbor. "Are we going to be in a little valley and basin where the flooding is going to be even worse?"
As a precaution some homeowners are keeping optional flood insurance, nervous it may flood again.
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