In 2012, staff applied and was successful in acquiring a federal grant to fund the construction of the 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 where today none exists. The project will connect to an existing path on the east side of Priest and to another path on the west side that was recently opened. The project will also provide a safe 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 consistent with Tempe shared use path standard; with a minimum of 10-foot concrete path, well lighted 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 with the city’s newly adopted General Plan 2040, 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 the existing system paths along the Rio Salado, Town Lake area to Scottsdale and Mesa.
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.