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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Streetcar construction will remain on campus for several months

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Hailey Eisenbach
Hailey Eisenbach/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Constuction near campus clogs university streets as students prepare to return to school.

As construction for the modern streetcar continues on campus, students are advised to plan for some delays when commuting this fall semester.

After three months of closing and tearing down roads around the UA, streetcar construction is progressing. Second Street between the Second Street Parking Garage and Warren avenue is set to open in the beginning of September. Second street from Park avenue to Mountain avenue was opened to traffic Aug. 11, just in time for the fall semester.

“I would assess people to take a couple extra minutes to get where they’re wanting to go,” said David Heineking, director of Parking and Transportation Services.

Due to a high volume of traffic on campus, Cherry Avenue at Second Street will be opened to traffic for the first football games if Second Street is not yet fully open by September 1.

Until Saturday, University Boulevard from Park Avenue to Euclid Avenue was closed through the summer. Construction workers spent the week of Aug. 10 to 17 putting down the tracks and paving the road preparing to open it before the semester. Business owners along the street have experienced fluctuations in patronage throughout the extent of the construction.

“Most Tucsonans have been really supportive and it hasn’t been that much of an issue and everything has been timely,” said Christina Henneke, owner of Swindlers on University Boulevard.

There will still be lane restrictions and minor intermittent closures on Second Street and on University Boulevard as the construction company works on adding pole foundations, poles and wire for the conductor that runs the streetcar. The streetcar stop on University boulevard in front of Main Gate plaza still needs to be built as well.

“It’s a big project with a very tight timeline,” said Bill Davidson, a marketing and transportation specialist for PTS. “I think overall they’re going to meet their … construction deadlines.”

The Second Street Parking Garage remained open throughout the summer and will continue to be open through construction. The road between Mountain Avenue and the parking garage entrance on Second Street remains untouched.

When Second Street opens east of the garage to Warren Avenue, the construction company will be able to close this section for and get the necessary work done which will take about six weeks, according to Heineking. Access to the Second Street parking garage will be through Cherry Avenue.

“We tried to as much as we could during the summer. That was our plan,” said Jesse Gutierrez, the city’s construction manager for the streetcar project. “But we always understood that we were going to have to work around the school year.”

Once construction on Mountain Avenue at Second Street is completed, construction on Park Avenue between University Boulevard and Second Street will begin. UA Parking and Transportation services and the construction company meet weekly and are still working out intersection closures on Park avenue from Second Street to University Boulevard.

“It’s a huge project that is quite literally during construction cutting the campus in half,” Heineking said.

While streetcar work is done under Speedway Boulevard at the Warren Avenue underpass, only one lane at a time will be closed on Speedway boulevard. All necessary construction will be done underneath one lane at a time. Because Speedway Boulevard has a lot of traffic and cannot be fully closed, the Warren underpass construction will take about 8 months.

First Street, Second Street and Martin Avenue will be permanently two-way streets once the project is completed.

“One-way streets are designed to get through an area as quickly as possible,” Heineking said. “We don’t want people driving through campus as quickly as possible. We want people to be able to get where they need to go safely.”

Certain CatTran routes will be off schedule and will be detouring from construction causing some stops to be missed. A permanent change to the orange route will be a stop at First street and Vine Avenue rather than at the Education building on Second Street.

The purple and green routes will not be making the Stewart Observatory stop as they will be detouring around Cherry Avenue on First Street. All stops on Seventh Street on the purple route have also been eliminated.

The teal route will experience serious delays and will not be able to use the stop at the Speech building. Fourth Avenue stops will be closed for the U.S.A. route as well as the Speech building stop, the stop on Jacobus Avenue at University Boulevard, the stop at Pei-Wei and the stop at the
Center for Computing and Information Technology.

The NightCat route will run its usual route until Sept. 20. All CatTran route changes will be updated on the PTS website.

Gutierrez advises students to avoid construction areas whether they’re walking, biking or driving through campus.

“For those who can’t detour around the construction area, be very cautious and careful and vigilant when they come through the area so that they can get through it safely and quickly,” he said.

Streetcar construction rolls over into beginning of semester from Daily Wildcat on Vimeo.

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