Road construction is considered an essential service and that means transportation projects are moving ahead during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several voter-approved Regional Transportation Authority plan projects are underway including West Valencia Road, North La Cholla Boulevard, Ruthrauff Road/Interstate 10 interchange, and Broadway Boulevard from Euclid Avenue to Country Club Road.
As you can imagine, it takes a lot of coordination and planning to ensure that people, equipment and other project resources are where they need to be at all times. Project managers have had to make some adjustments in procedures due to COVID-19 concerns.
Kyle DeWitte, of the City of Tucson, is the project manager for the current Broadway Boulevard project. DeWitte said, “The project team had to adapt fairly quickly to different work environments and virtual communications to keep this project moving forward.” The large weekly construction team meetings consist of only core team members attending in person. Everyone else joins remotely. The contractor has added a COVID-19 update to the weekly meeting agenda that includes federal, state and local guidelines and recommendations for best practices during construction.
The project will widen Broadway to six lanes, including additional bus pullouts, buffered bike lanes, sidewalks and multiple signalized pedestrian crossings. The project, which began in January 2020, is expected to take 20 months to complete. Currently, the construction is focused on a new underground storm drain system that will run throughout the project limits. Access to businesses will be maintained throughout the construction period.
Reflecting on progress and how the team has adjusted, DeWitte said, “The progress so far has been going well, especially considering the complexities of an urban roadway re-construction with a major stormdrain installation such as this. Keeping the project moving along is a credit to all the coordination efforts between everyone on the project team, especially during the pandemic.”