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Bridges over troubled wash waters on their way

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Bridges over troubled wash waters on their way

CREATED Jul 16, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
 
PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - There are a number of roadways in Tucson and Pima County infamous for flooding and choked traffic during the monsoon. In the coming months, one on the northwest side will no longer be a problem spot for neighbors and drivers.
 
When monsoon rains pour down, the Cooper family's connection to civilization washes away. That’s because North La Cholla Bolevard is virtually the only way home for the Oro Valley family. When it rains, the Cañada del Oro Wash between Magee and Overton turns the roadway into raging river.
 
“We have no detours. That's it,” Charmaine Cooper told 9 On Your Side. “There is no way in or out of our streets. You're just stuck either on the outside or on the inside.”
 
It’s a dilemma for the Coopers and the 12,000 to 16,000 daily drivers Pima County said can't pass when the flooded road closes.
 
It's also a headache for county workers, who often need days to clean it up.
 
“We have to bring in equipment to move all of that sediment off to the side of the road; clear off the road so the cars can get through,” said Priscilla Cornelio, director of the Pima County Department of Transportation.
 
But permanent roadway relief for all parties Is on its way. The county board recently approved nearly $16 million to build two side-by-side 600-foot bridges over the wash on La Cholla. The funding comes from the Regional Transportation Authority.
  
Cornelio said crews will break ground in the next month and the project will be finished in a year and a half.
 
“Very excited,” Cooper said upon hearing the news. “That'd be nice--to not to have to plan our life around the storms.”
 
Other county roadway improvement projects are in the works, including ones meant to improve drainage on other regularly flooded streets. View them online.