In 2012, the City of Tempe secured a federal grant to construct a bicycle and pedestrian underpass connection along Rio Salado south bank and Priest Drive bridge. This project will provide an accessible and safe crossing under Priest Drive for Rio Salado Path users. The project will provide a safe connection of the two existing Rio Salado Paths path on the east and west side of Priest. The project will also provide a more direct and safer connection by not requiring pedestrians and bicyclist using the paths to cross Priest Drive at-grade.
The proposed underpass project is currently under design and will be constructed in winter 2015. The project will be consistent with Tempe’s shared use path standards, with a minimum of 10-feet-wide concrete path and lighting, and will meet or exceed all ADA requirements. The project will also be designed to accommodate emergency and service vehicle access. The project is being designed in partnership with Army Corps of Engineers, ADOT and Maricopa County Flood Control District.
The project is consistent with the goals and objectives of Tempe’s General Plan 2040 and 2015 Transportation Master Plan, promoting alternative modes, by connecting employment centers west of Priest Drive to destinations like Tempe Town Lake, Mill Avenue and Tempe Marketplace. The project will also link to existing system paths along the Rio Salado and Town Lake area, as well as Scottsdale and Mesa. A public meeting will be held Jan. 28, 2015.
Design of the path cost $133,612 with construction of this project funded by a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement grant through the Federal Highway Administration in the amount of $1.1 million and Transit Tax local match of $79,604. The project is expected to be complete in spring 2016.