Grand Ave. ramps to, from Bell Road opening ThursdayPosted: Updated:
The Grand Avenue/Bell Road Interchange Project, a traffic plan approved years ago, is less than a day away from opening to drivers.
The Grand Avenue ramps to and from Bell Road will be opened Thursday. The traffic signal at Bell Road and Grand Avenue was activated Monday.
Construction began on Jan. 4, 2016 and was expected to take 14 months. While the ramps will open on Thursday, there is still a bit of work to do, including landscaping. All of that is expected to wrap up in March.
With a price tag of nearly $42 million, the interchange is designed to ease congestion at the busy Bell Road intersection.
“The bridge is replacing the former ground-level intersection,” explains SupriseAZ.gov. “With this new interchange, through traffic on Grand Avenue will no longer stop at Bell Road. Instead, the two roadways will be connected via new on- and off-ramps constructed within the Grand Avenue median.”
Project planners took a look not only at current traffic needs, but also anticipated what would be most effective in the years to come.
“We had Cactus League baseball in mind for the City of Surprise out at Surprise Stadium nearby,” Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman Doug Nintzel said Wednesday morning, the eve of the ramps’ opening. “One of the things we wanted to make sure we were taking care of was getting these ramps open … in time for the Cactus League play starting up … next week.”
Surprise Stadium (15930 N. Bullard Ave.) is the Spring Training home of the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers. Their first game there is Saturday, Feb. 25.
A stretch of Bell Road between 134th Avenue and West Point Parkway was closed in both directions from April 1 until Nov. 22. In a major milestone, it reopened just in time for the holiday shopping season.
The project is “making a world of difference in this area,” Nintzel said. “It’s saving drivers a whole lot of time out here.”
Now that the new intersection is ready for drivers, there are a few things you need to know.
First is the aforementioned traffic signal. You need to be prepared to stop.
If you’re heading to Surprise Marketplace on the southwest corner of Bell Road and Grand Avenue, you’ll want to stay on Bell Road and enter just west of the bridge at either the Chick-fil-A driveway or West Point Parkway. If you’re on Grand Avenue, use the Bell Grande Drive entrance just south of the bridge.
If you take the new ramps to Bell Road from Grande Avenue, you can only go east or west on Bell. Once you’re on the ramps, there is no to get back to Grande Avenue.
The dual left turns from Bell Road to Dysart Road and from Litchfield Road to Bell Road are gone.
“Traffic control has returned to the pre-Bell [Road] closure configuration at these intersections,” according to SurpriseAZ.gov. “The dual left turn lanes, and other detour-favoring changes, have been removed. Please be mindful of the traffic control changes.”
The City of Surprise said it will be actively monitoring the intersection to synchronize traffic.
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