How you can give your feedback on the future of the Cortaro and I-10 interchange
TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - It has a reputation as the worst interchange in Marana, and even though there are plans to address the traffic issue some community members say the construction isn’t coming soon enough.
More than a dozen trains pass the Cortaro and I-10 interchange each day. The trains and traffic can have drivers waiting for quite a while to pass through. The Town of Marana is asking for feedback on the future of this interchange.
Mark Weber has lived in Marana for the past seven years, he tells 13 News driving through this area is a big headache.
“I was very very surprised that they have not really started the planning on it,” Weber said.
Weber said if you have driven through Marana you know how difficult it can be getting through the interchange at Cortaro and I-10.
“The trains that come from both ways, I have seen traffic lined up for 45 minutes there.,” Weber said. “That is just inexcusable, they should have been way ahead of this a long time ago.”
Right now, the plans for the new bridge are in the very beginning stages, something Weber and other community members say is frustrating.
“I was under the impression as many other people were that this was well into the planning stage,” Weber said. “We had heard rumors that businesses were blocking it because they were scared of losing revenue.”
According to Fausto Burruel, the Public Works Director for Marana, the town is currently in the process of applying for a Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant (RCE) which is the main reason for these public meetings.
“The R.C.E. Grant we are pursuing we are hoping to get to about $50,000,000 with that,” Burruel said. “It’s an 80/20 grant which means we have to have a 20% match.”
The total cost of the project is estimated to be $200 million. Currently, the town has already been given $10,000,000 from the state.
Burruel said of the $50 million from the RCE grant, Marana will have to give 20%. They will utilize the ten million dollars received for that purpose. If the grant is approved, the $50 million will go toward environmental, archeology, planning stages, and the beginning parts of the design phase.
They are also hoping to get funds from the RTA, which voters will have the chance to decide.
John Arntz has been living in Marana for the past four years. He expects that the construction phase will have major backups but believes that once the project is complete it will be utilized for decades to come.
“I worked in the public sector for a long time, so I kinda know what they are up against,” Arntz said. “I am very impressed with the progress. You have excellent people working on this.”
If you don’t live in or close to Marana, you might be thinking, “Well how does this impact me?”
Burruel said the Cortaro and I-10 interchange is the town’s number one request for the RTA. He said the RTA looks at projects for all of the agencies across the region and if they have more of a regional impact.
“It’s on the interstate. It also impacts Marana, Pima County, Oro Valley,” Burruel said. “We have a lot of commuters who utilize that traffic interchange.”
Weber said this interchange will keep causing issues if it’s not completed sooner. He has this message for town officials.
“Expedite it please, we really need an interchange there,” Weber said. “Please expedite it, it’s a mess!”
Town officials understand the frustration and are asking the community for patience as this process moves forward.
Burruel said it’s important to start these conversations now, even though it’ll be years before the ground actually breaks on the bridge.
“We are doing these activities to get public engagement,” Burruel said.
Burruel is asking people in the community to complete a survey that will help direct the project.
“Please, there is a survey we would like to hear from you, all of this bolsters our chances,” Burruel said. “These types of grants are very very competitive.”
Marana will have another public meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023, at Leman Academy on N. Silverbell Rd. The meeting will start at 6:00 P.M.
You can find the survey HERE.
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