SURPRISE – When drivers begin using ramps to and from Grand Avenue (US 60) at the new Bell Road bridge this week, the connections will be from the center of Grand Avenue.
The $41.9 million interchange, where ramps are scheduled to open Thursday, Feb. 16, is what’s called a median urban diamond, which has connections at the center rather than ramps to the right of Grand Avenue travel lanes or other possible configurations. The benefits of this design include minimizing the impact on neighboring shopping centers and businesses by not requiring the Arizona Department of Transportation to acquire as much property.
Drivers using the new interchange should pay attention to signs and other traffic-control devices, including the new traffic signals on the Bell Road bridge. Motorists using the new Grand Avenue on-ramps should use caution when merging with other traffic on US 60.
After ADOT opened the Bell Road bridge as promised before the start of the holiday shopping season, opening ramps to and from Grand Avenue before the start of spring training baseball games at nearby Surprise Stadium represents another key milestone.
Construction of the Bell/Grand interchange began a year ago. The entire project is expected to be completed by early March after crews replace temporary lane stripes on fresh pavement with permanent striping. Landscaping and drainage system work also will be finished in the coming weeks.
The project is funded as part of the Maricopa Association of Governments’ Regional Transportation Plan approved by county voters in 2004. Funding sources include a countywide half-cent sales tax for road and transit improvements as well as the Phoenix region’s share of federal and state transportation funds.