The Main Stream

Jul 26, 2012 2:11 AM

Residents think Valencia flood relief is overdue

TUCSON - Some Southwest Side residents think the county should make construction in their neighborhood a higher priority.

Valencia Road is regularly closed west of Casino Del Sol during the monsoon.

"You can't leave," Omar Faraj said. "You basically have to take a boat."

Pima County construction crews are going to widen the road and provide drainage. The main construction probably will not start until early 2014.

With construction all over the Tucson area, Robert Gonzalez thinks the Southwest Side is overlooked.

"We pay as much as anyone else out there, so I think it should be an equal priority," Gonzalez said. "It just feels like South, Southwest, they don't really care about the neighborhood."

But the specific Regional Transportation Authority projects were part of the May 2006 election. Valencia Road is on the list, but the proposition said construction crews will fix it after other jobs, according to Jim DeGrood with the RTA.

Before the election, hundreds of meetings, including public open houses, determined the order of construction projects, according to DeGrood.

The RTA is focusing on more populated areas like the Northwest Side before moving out to Valencia Road, according to DeGrood.

Making the area flood-safe is going to be difficult because of the geography of the washes, according to Pima County Engineer Rick Ellis.

"They're not concentrated in individual channels but they spread," Ellis said, "so it gives you more area you have to work with, and sometimes, that's a little more challenging."

Much of the road will have to be raised.

Utility work in the area will probably start later this year.


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