Public comments are being received on a massive highway project in Arizona that will see the building of a connection between busy Interstate 10 and the equally busy Interstate 19 in metropolitan Tucson.
The Sonoran Corridor, categorized by the federal Department of Transportation as a high-priority project, has been years in the talking and planning stages.
A study conducted by the Arizona Department of Transportation looking at the environmental and economic impact of three potential routes for the corridor is currently underway, the results of which are expected to be revealed next year.
Those three routes were pared down from an initial list of ten possible options compiled last year by the department.
Central to the study is the certainty that the corridor will be 2,000 feet wide, no matter which route is finally decided on.
According to a report issued by the ADOT last year, the new corridor is needed simply due to demographics: in the next 25 years the regional population of metro Tucson is expected to increase from just over 1 million to nearly 1.5 million.
The increase, said the ADOT report, means that traffic congestion “is expected to worsen by 2045 and be a detriment to the existing environment within the study area.”
As planned, the corridor when built will encompass a 50-square mile area surrounding the Tucson International Airport.
A final timeline for the construction of the corridor could be announced next year.
By Garry Boulard
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