Grant improvement includes Oracle intersection redesign

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Thousands drive by the intersection at Grant and Oracle on a daily basis. In 2006, voters approved a plan that called for improvements to the intersection.  Five years later, construction is closer than ever.

It's one of Tucson's busiest intersections.  It's a traffic nightmare for drivers.  And an accident waiting to happen for pedestrians.

That's why the city stepped in.

"We're going to be redesigning them a bit different than what people experience today," said City Transportation Director Jim Glock.

The Grant-Oracle improvement project is the first phase of a face lift for Grant Rd.

Wednesday night, the community got a chance to review progress as the design phase nears completion.

"Overall we're gonna see a benefit to surrounding community and all vehicles that enter this intersection on a daily basis," said Glock.

City officials say the intersection currently has a high number of vehicle crashes, a lot of congestion and lots of pedestrian and bike traffic. The city's solution is an indirect left turn.

"This is going to prove to be well accepted over time as well," said Glock.

A simulation illustrates the indirect left turn by showing drivers going straight on Grant through the Oracle intersection and making a U-turn on Grant before turning right on Oracle.

"I'd have to waste time or possibly go down further on Grant.  There's a lot of traffic down there," said driver Stacy Gerson.

"I think it might make it safer, but then in the long run I don't know about U-turns," said pedestrian Helen Robles.

Everyone agrees it's a necessary upgrade. One that will make the intersection safer.  Still, businesses are concerned about the disruption construction will bring.

"We rely on folks to continue and patronize the businesses in the area.  Don't drive away because of the construction.  Do make sure your patronage is felt with them," said Glock.

Most importantly the city urges drivers and pedestrians to be alert until construction wraps up.