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  • Location: Surprise, Arizona

During rush hour, traffic queues extend as far as two miles at Surprise’s US-60/Grand Avenue and Bell Road intersection. As part of a study conducted for the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), Burgess & Niple (B&N) provided an innovative solution that will help resolve area traffic congestion, improve safety and lower estimated costs.

Project Challenges

US-60/Grand Avenue is a heavily traveled route to Las Vegas and Bell Road is one of the busiest streets in the metropolitan Phoenix area. Approximately 85,000 motorists use this intersection each day, making it one of the most heavily traveled in the region. Another challenge is the BNSF Railway that intersects Bell Road near US-60/Grand Avenue. Passing trains add to traffic congestion and the railroad’s at-grade crossing on Bell Road is a safety concern for motorists. In addition, established businesses surround the heavily skewed intersection which further complicates site conditions.

Intersection improvements were needed to address the deficient capacity and motorist safety. Multiple alternatives had been developed, but concerns over impacts to local businesses, changes in travel patterns and potentially high construction costs remained. MAG tasked B&N with identifying an approach that would meet the project goals while reducing costs and minimizing right of way impacts.

MUD Solution

B&N developed eight alternatives. The alternative selected is a Median Urban Diamond (MUD) interchange. The proposed MUD is a grade-separated solution with a single intersection on Bell Road. The existing median along US-60/Grand Avenue will accommodate ramp connections between the two heavily traveled roads. Placing ramps inside the median allows right-in/right-out access to adjacent businesses to remain intact.

Benefits of this design include:

  • Improved traffic operations
  • Grade separation of Bell Road and the BNSF Railway
  • A smaller footprint to minimize land acquisition
  • Maintenance of access to adjacent properties
  • Substantial reduction in projected costs – about 40% less than the original alternative

As the first MUD in the state of Arizona, this innovative and cost-effective solution proposed by B&N will help solve traffic capacity and safety issues while minimizing impacts to businesses that are vital to the local economy.