A 354-foot, $844,000 pedestrian bridge, to be installed across the Canada del Oro Wash as part of the Oracle Road widening project, is going to help walkers, cyclists and runners get from north to south Oro Valley away from the town’s busiest streets.
The span, downstream from the Highway 77 bridge by about 450 feet and just upstream from the confluence of the CDO and Big washes, is a crucial link in Oro Valley’s eventual trail development.
“This is such a fantastic opportunity to get that bridge in because it’s a significant bridge,” one that would allow connection to major recreation paths in the Cañada del Oro Linear park, and beyond, said Ainsley Legner, Oro Valley parks and recreation director.
“In general, it is connecting Steam Pump Village with Oro Valley Marketplace,” said Linda Ritter, spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Transportation.
“It should be built mid-spring, and hopefully available by summer,” said Craig Civalier, Oro Valley town engineer.
ADOT is putting $250,000 toward the bridge, and the town of Oro Valley has contributed $594,000. The structure is a twin I-beam, galvanized steel bridge with guardrails, handrails and a poured concrete deck, all of it atop concrete piers. ADOT secured special permission from the Pima County Flood Control District to build the bridge in a flood plain, Ritter said.
Oro Valley Marketplace developer Vestar was originally asked to build a sidewalk along Oracle Road. There was “no good way for them to do it,” Civalier said, so the disconnected path option was pursued.
“We think it’s safer … to bring the pedestrian traffic onto the path and away from Oracle Road,” Civalier said. “That’s one of the reasons that pedestrian bridge is being built where it is, to keep people away from traffic.”
The new bridge will “come in sections,” said Civalier, “similar to the bridges we installed on the CDO Linear Park.” A 2.7-mile link on the CDO wash from La Canada to First Avenue has been completed within the CDO Linear Park.
Still to come is a section of path west of and behind Steam Pump Ranch. Civalier said the town is pursuing funds to build a bridge across Foothills Wash north of the Honeywell plant, and money in general to finish the work.
“It’s a matter of going out and trying to secure some funds for it,” Civalier said.
Grant funding and money from other sources is “hard to come by” in a time of economic struggle, Civalier allowed. “We’ve got a plan, and when we can get money we’re going after it.
“It’d be nice if it would get completed,” he said. “For me, the funding can’t come fast enough to finish this.”