Grand Avenue changes shave time off West Valley commute

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Department of Transportation says it is giving West Valley commuters the gift of extra time during the morning and evening rush hours. This week the agency released numbers showing the changes engineers made along Grand Avenue are shaving seven to 10 minutes off travel times.

Crews changed the timing on nearly 40 traffic signals along Grand Avenue, from the Loop 303 to McDowell Road and 19th Avenue, making driving from the city of Surprise to Downtown Phoenix smoother. According the study conducted by ADOT, after the signal coordination in the fall, drivers traveling along the West Valley thoroughfare are stopping for fewer lights.

During the morning commute, researchers say the average number of red light stops for drivers traveling the entire Grand Avenue study area dropped from 16 to 10 in the morning and from 21 to nine in the afternoon.

Traffic engineers say they synchronized the lights for 45 mph. That means drivers who travel at that speed along Grand Avenue are most likely to hit more green lights than not.

According to ADOT, these signal changes are part of a series of projects to improve Grand Avenue, a major regional corridor for drivers traveling to and from the northwest Valley. Construction crews wrapped up an $18 million project to widen Grand Avenue between 83rd Avenue and Loop 303.

Workers will now focus on improving and upgrading the stretch of Grand Avenue between 19th Avenue and the Loop 101. These projects will get underway this summer.