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  • Supervisors take first step in creating Sonoran Corridor Economic Development plan

    Oct 07, 2014 | Read More News
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    sonoran corridorThe Pima County Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted 5-0 to add a proposed auxiliary interstate highway that would connect Interstate 19 to Interstate 10 to the county’s Major Streets and Routes list. The highway, tentatively called the Sonoran Corridor, would branch off from Interstate 19 near Pima Mine Road just north of Sahuarita and extend east to Interstate 10 near Rita Road. 

    It is a key infrastructure piece to the county’s Sonoran Corridor economic development master plan, which is being developed in phases as part of the county’s Economic Development plan adopted in 2012 (and currently under revision for 2015-2017).

    The route would not only connect two interstates but connect two of the region’s high-tech employment zones: Raytheon and a planned aerospace and defense manufacturing park south of Raytheon on the west side of the Corridor, and the University of Arizona Tech Park and the Port of Tucson on the east. The route would also include a southern connection to TIA, providing a more convenient entrance to the airport for air travellers coming from the south. It also will provide Sahuarita, Green Valley and Santa Cruz County residents easier access to Central and Eastside employment centers.

    Designating the route as part of the county’s Major Streets and Routes Plan alerts property owners in the area, or prospective property owners, that the county intends to use right-of-way dedications or set-asides in the area to establish the highway. 
    The designation is the first step in establishing the 16-mile long corridor. 

    “The proposed surface transportation improvement of an auxiliary interstate highway connecting I-19 and I-10 is the most important transportation improvement for economic expansion in decades,” County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said.

    Now that the county portion of the highway is established, it is hoped the city of Tucson will do likewise since about half of the proposed route is in the city. About 13 percent of the route is in the Tohono O’odham Nation and requires the concurrence and cooperation of the nation to establish the corridor. In the meantime, the Major Streets and Routes designation allows the county to begin master planning the corridor for presentation to the Board of Supervisors early next year. 

    Other phases for the corridor’s development include:
    • Relocating Hughes Access Road to establish a land buffer for possible expansion of Raytheon [Completed]
    • Construct the Aerospace Parkway along the realigned Hughes Road [Planning and Engineering underway]
    • Establishing an aerospace and defense industrial park south of the Aerospace Parkway [Planning underway]
    • Connecting the eastern leg of the Corridor from TIA to the UA Tech Park along the Old Vail Connection.
    • Connecting the western leg of the Corridor from TIA to Interstate 19 [Requires support and approval of the Tohono O’odham Nation]