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Phasing will add up to a ‘new’ Houghton corridor

Dec. 6, 2017 - The Houghton Road, Interstate 10 to Tanque Verde Road, project (also known as the Houghton Road Corridor) is a 13-mile corridor which consists of the following sections:

  • Houghton Road: 22nd Street to Irvington Road. This project began design in late 2016 and has reached 60 percent design completion. Construction is expected to start in 2022.
  • Houghton Road: Valencia Road to Mary Ann Cleveland Way. Design for this project began in mid-2017 and is anticipated to take approximately 24 months, with construction expected to commence in 2020.
  • Houghton Road: Bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR). Construction began in March 2017 and should take approximately two years to complete.
  • Houghton Road: UPRR to Interstate 10. This project is preparing for construction which is anticipated to begin in 2018. This project is one of the largest roadway projects in the 20-year Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) plan, which was approved by voters in 2006.

One of the phases on the corridor includes construction of the Houghton Road Bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad. Construction for this $11.3 million* bridge project began in March 2017 and will be constructed in two phases.

Construction is expected to take approximately two years to complete. When the work is done, traffic will be redirected to use both bridges, one for northbound traffic and the other for southbound traffic.

  • The first phase will keep traffic on the existing bridge, while a new three-lane bridge is constructed. Once the new bridge is completed, traffic will be shifted over to the new bridge.
  • The second phase will include demolishing the existing bridge and building a new three-lane bridge where the old bridge was located.

During this work, bats roosting underneath the existing bridge will be relocated. The bats typically roost in the thin expansion cracks located underneath the existing bridge during the day and then emerge at dusk in swarms to feed on mosquitoes and other insects, and pollinate local plants and crops. The bridge provides important roosting and nursery habitat for local bats.

Since modern bridge designs have done away with using the thin expansion cracks, crews will be installing bat boxes and other features underneath the new bridges where bats can migrate to and roost when the old bridge is removed. The bat boxes, which will be located under the new bridges, contain thin crevices for roosting habitat. Each bat box can hold more than 300 bats. The $88,000 bat box project is funded under the Wildlife Linkages category of the RTA plan.

*Construction costs of many RTA projects have come in under the engineer’s estimate. The low bid for this project was $11.3 million, or 33 percent under the engineer’s estimate.

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