PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation has opened elevated ramps connecting State Route 51 at the Loop 101 Pima Freeway with Black Mountain Boulevard, improving access in the Desert Ridge area.
A roundabout serves as a transition to slow traffic to and from the freeway, and a pedestrian bridge has been added over Black Mountain Boulevard near Pinnacle High School.
ADOT and Phoenix partnered on the $17.8 million ramps project, with ADOT managing construction that began in June 2015. A separate project, also managed by ADOT on behalf of the city, included improvements to Black Mountain Boulevard north to Pinnacle Peak Road.
“Our goal has been to deliver a project that helps the city with its transportation plans for the Desert Ridge area and beyond,” said ADOT Assistant Director Steve Boschen, who leads the agency’s Infrastructure Delivery and Operations Division. “The ramps provide local drivers with direct access to State Route 51.”
“As the city continues to develop in the north, better transportation options are needed to meet the needs of a growing city,” said Phoenix Councilwoman Thelda Williams, who chairs the City Council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. “The new ramps will provide options for a rapidly growing area.”
At the roundabout, along Black Mountain Boulevard south of the high school, signs direct drivers to slow to 20 mph. Motorists also should be prepared to yield to traffic already in the roundabout.
While helping high school students cross Black Mountain Boulevard, the pedestrian bridge also is part of the Reach 11 trail within a 1,500-acre recreation area popular with hikers and bicyclists.
The connections between State Route 51 and Black Mountain Boulevard have been part of Phoenix’s plans for the Desert Ridge region for several years. The project was funded as part of the Maricopa Association of Governments’ Regional Transportation Plan approved by county voters in 2004.