Jun 22, 2014 8:13 PM by Nathan O'Neal
CATALINA - A $34 million construction project is underway to expand a seven mile stretch of Oracle Road -- but nearby residents worry that new concrete barriers leave little room for cyclists and pedestrians to safely navigate the roadway.
The project is backed the Arizona Department of Transportation, along with other agencies, aimed at making it easier for drivers and cyclists to move along State Route 77.
David Grant is a cyclist who lives in the Catalina area. While he is excited for the end results of the project, he is also worried about the new obstacles on the road.
"It's very dangerous," Grant told News 4 Tucson.
Grant is hesitant to ride his bicycle along Oracle Road because of the small amount of space between concrete barriers and traffic.
"For a cyclist and if I was on foot as a pedestrian, there's nowhere to go," Grant said.
Grant still hopes construction planners will address his concerns as the project moves forward.
Construction is expected to be complete by the spring of 2016.
ADOT sent News 4 Tucson this statement regarding the issue:
"This is a necessary construction project that will benefit all transportation users along State Route 77 (Oracle Road). ADOT crews have barrier in the areas that have deep excavation relatively close to the road. These areas are limited. The barrier was initially set closer to the road to allow for maximum safety in the work zone. The contractor will be coming out to adjust the barrier to allow more shoulder room in those areas. We anticipate this being done this week.
ADOT recognizes the need to accommodate all users of the facility and will take every opportunity we can to provide as much access as possible during construction. Cyclists can use the shoulder, however, there were no pedestrian facilities in the past. Pedestrians cannot walk in the construction zones, since this is a serious safety issue. ADOT appreciates the public's understanding as we work to finish this project that will benefit the area."
Spokesperson, ADOT Office of Public Information