Photo courtesy of APWA
Photo courtesy of APWA Photo courtesy of APWA

Tucson’s Houghton Road, Irvington Road to Valencia Road Project was recently named a 2015 Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The Houghton Road, Irvington Road to Valencia Road Project is being honored in the Transportation category at a cost between $5 million–$25 million.

This year, the team of winners includes the City of Tucson, as the managing agency; Hunter Contracting Co., as the primary contractor; and Psomas as the primary design consultant. These organizations were all presented with the award during APWA’s 2015 International Public Works Congress & Exposition Awards Ceremony in Phoenix, Arizona which was held August 30-September 2, 2015.

Extensive access management measures were also implemented in order to enhance mobility along the roadway corridor. Such enhancements included two signals designed with Florida T signal configurations to allow southbound traffic to flow without having to stop. Improvements for alternative transportation modes were also provided as part of this project with 12 new bus pullouts, a paved landscaped multi-use path along the entire east side of the roadway, extra wide access ramps, and a special bike-friendly treatment for all pedestrians and bicyclists on crosswalks along the path for improved side street crossing. Other improvements included new multi-cell arch structures to provide all-weather access over three large washes, including the very large floodplain of the Atterbury Wash.

For more information on the APWA 2015 Projects of the Year, please contact APWA Media Relations/Communications Manager, Laura Bynum,, or call 202.218.6736.

The APWA Public Works Projects of the Year awards are presented annually to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects, recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, contractor, consultant, and their cooperative achievements. APWA selected projects in five categories: Disaster/Emergency, Environment, Historical Restoration, Structures, and Transportation.

The City of Tucson’s project along Houghton Road, Irvington Road to Valencia Road, consisted of widening 3.5 miles of Houghton Road from a two-lane roadway to a six-lane divided, multimodal scenic parkway. Beginning with the design concept stage and continuing through final design and construction, there were many critical components used to make this a successful project. One crucial and strategic element was the public relations component, as the project consisted of extensive coordination with a Citizens Design Review Committee, elected officials, stakeholders, businesses, and the general public. Some key project elements included native landscaping and water harvesting, wildlife compatible crossings, upgraded traffic signals, bike lanes, a multi- use path, upgraded drainage facilities, public art and coordination with site development projects. Technological innovations provided improved efficiency of the project and included such things as digital surface models to guide GPS-equipped grading equipment, 3D models to evaluate potential conflicts, and iPads in the field to geo-reference electronic copies of the plans. Identification of important utilities was another primary focus of the project as conflicts with a 24-inch water line, a 12-inch gas line, and electric transmission lines were mitigated.