Thursday, August 21, 2014

Anticipating the Onslaught of Students, City Shutting Down 4th Ave Underpass Thursday to Sunday

Posted By on Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 2:00 PM

In anticipation of heavy traffic flow with the return of University of Arizona students this weekend, the City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) has announced it will temporarily shut down southbound traffic through the 4th Avenue Underpass at 9th Street starting today at 7:00 p.m. The lane will be closed off from motorists from the hours of 7:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. starting on Thursday, August 21 and continue through Saturday, August 23. Only the Sun Link streetcar and bicycles will be allowed to use the southbound travel lane; pedestrians can use the southbound sidewalk through the underpass.

According to TDOT's Michael Graham, "Prohibiting southbound travel through the Fourth Avenue underpass during the peak travel hours for this area is expected to further ease the congestion along Congress Street."

Regarding what he told the Tucson Weekly in an interview last week, Graham said, "The increased activity in the downtown area, specifically at the Congress/Fourth/Toole intersection, has caused gridlock conditions. TDOT staff made permanent traffic signal timing adjustments last week on Congress which improved traffic flows."

The entire press release after the break:

With the return of University of Arizona students and the anticipation of heavy traffic volumes in the downtown area, the City of Tucson of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) will prohibit southbound motor vehicle travel through the Fourth Avenue Underpass at Ninth Street.

This temporary closure will take place Thursday, August 21, Friday, August 22 and Saturday, August 23, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. During the temporary closure, the Sun Link Streetcar and bicyclists will be allowed to use the southbound travel lane through the underpass, and pedestrians will be allowed to use the southbound sidewalk through the underpass.

For the past several weeks, TDOT staff has been evaluating and monitoring traffic volumes, traffic movements and pedestrian access at the Congress Street, Fourth Avenue and Toole Avenue intersection. The increased activity in the downtown area, specifically at the Congress/Fourth/Toole intersection, has caused gridlock conditions. TDOT staff made permanent traffic signal timing adjustments last week on Congress which improved traffic flows.

Prohibiting southbound travel through the Fourth Avenue underpass during the peak travel hours for this area is expected to further ease the congestion along Congress Street. TDOT staff will again evaluate and monitor travel patterns this upcoming weekend and additional traffic control measures may take place in the future.

Electronic message boards will be in place along Fourth Avenue to inform motorists of this weekend’s travel lane restriction. Motorists are urged to use caution when traveling along Fourth Avenue and in the downtown area due to the high volume of pedestrian activity in these entertainment districts.


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