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Canada del Oro Linear Park-La Cholla to La Canada

Project status:  Project construction completed May 2016 


Pima County is developing The Loop shared-use path and river parks system, see Pima County’s website for The Loop for more details on this County-wide recreation and transportation system.  The Cañada Del Oro (CDO) Wash River Park: La Cholla to La Cañada project is an integral connection on the CDO Wash for the Loop. Completion of the 1.6 miles river park pathway between La Cholla and La Cañada will connect the existing 2.68 miles of river park on the east bank of the CDO from La Cañada to First Avenue in the Town of Oro Valley with the 3.05 miles of the Loop river park on the east bank of the CDO from Thornydale to Hardy Road alignment. The 1.6 mile link will create a continuous 7.3 miles of Loop path along the CDO. Pima County is working on other future projects that will ultimately connect the CDO river park to the Loop on the Santa Cruz River and Rillito River.

The Cañada Del Oro Wash between La Cholla and La Cañada is a low lying undeveloped floodplain. Approximately 50% of the land adjacent to the CDO is currently owned by the Flood Control District or is dedicated drainage way. The Flood Control District desires to preserve this natural floodway for flood protection and for the valuable riparian habitat that currently exists in this mesquite bosque, and to promote the Pima County River Parks system. Development of the river park will provide District staff with access to the flood-prone areas, provide recreational amenities, an alternate transportation corridor, and aid in the preservation and future restoration of this important meso-riparian area.

Project Features

The project consists of a 16-foot-wide paved multi-use pedestrian/bicycle pathway constructed at ground level to minimize impacts to the floodplain. The pathway has been constructed to weave between the existing trees, giving the pathways a more natural feel and to minimize the number of trees needed to be removed. Low-flow culverts at drainage crossings minimize impediments to flows during minor events.

Pedestrian underpass ramps have been constructed under the new La Cholla Bridge that was constructed in 2014, and a retrofitted underpass was built under the existing La Cañada Bridge in August 2015. An at-grade pedestrian/bicycle and equestrian crossing at Overton Road was completed in May 2016, east of where it dips into the CDO floodplain.

An equestrian staging area was constructed north of Overton Road utilizing the old Pima County Department of Transportation materials and dirt storage yard. Gravel parking and staging areas were provided for off of Rancho Feliz next to the La Canada intersection, and off of the south side of the new La Cholla Road Bridge.

Motor vehicle access to the river park corridor is restricted to authorized vehicles, except in the staging areas. Restricting off-road vehicles will allow this heavily used floodplain area to heal and return back to a rich riparian bosque and natural desert floodplain.

Project Costs and Funding

The Pima County Flood Control District tax levy, which is a secondary property tax, will be the primary source of funding for this project. Additional funding was provided by the Regional Transportation Authority for the HAWK crossing on Overton Road. Below is a table of anticipated costs:

Item Cost
Design and Surveying $ 401,000
Right-of-way Acquisitions $ 1,095,000
River Park Pathway Construction $ 766,707
PROJECT TOTAL $ 2,262,707

Project Benefits

This 1.6 mile section of the CDO River Park is an important connection in a long continuous shared-use pathway for recreation, exercise, and an alternative transportation mode between the towns of Marana and Oro Valley. Equestrian users now have a gathering place to meet and ride towards Catalina State Park where none previously existed. Fencing will keep off road vehicles from entering this expansive floodplain area reducing destruction to native plants, compaction of the soils and illegal disposal of trash and debris.

Preservation of this floodplain will provide a location for floodwater to spread out, passing through the CDO riverine system more slowly and minimize flood damage. Urbanization of our natural watersheds has resulted in increases to peak discharges. Preservation of the floodplain will help maintain lower peak discharges and minimize increases in flood water elevations downstream. Detaining flood flow helps to recharge our natural aquifer and provide valuable moisture to native riparian vegetation.

Project Schedule

The latest project schedule is as follows (updated 7/8/2016):

Task Start Date Estimate Completion Date Comments
Concept Report 10/23/12 6/30/13 Developed by Schlesinger Consulting Engineering, Tucson AZ
Design 7/1/13 September 2014 Estimated 15 months to design.
Right-of-way Acquisitions 12/6/12 September 2014 Pima County Real Property is negotiating with the remaining property owner.
Construction FY 2016/2017 May 2016 The Flood Control District Job Order Contractor has completed the project improvements.


The following maps are available:


Meetings and Events

(Updated 7/8/2016)

The following information about meetings and events is currently available:

  • Mailer for 1st Public Meeting (To go over recommended concept): September 25, 2013, 6:00 p.m. at Grace Community Church, 9755 N. La Cholla Blvd.
  • 2nd Public meeting (Review Design, going to construction): December 2013