The city is currently working on several significant transportation improvement projects to meet the needs of our expanding city. The various projects range from constructing additional lanes, to paving new areas, to enhancing safety through new medians. To help guide our residents, especially taking into account the upcoming Bell Road/Grand Avenue intersection project, the city has created a 2016 transportation projects map for your reference. This map focuses on the areas where the work is happening and their expected timelines. A picture of the map is located below or you can find it at www.surpriseaz.gov/transportation.
The following projects are currently underway:
Original Town Site (OTS) Infrastructure Improvement: This project will replace old asphalt with pulverized asphalt in the OTS. The project began in December 2015 and is scheduled to conclude February 2016.
Cactus Road (north half) from 140th Avenue to Bullard Avenue: This project includes half street improvements with a median. DMB (Marley Park developer) is the project owner, with the City contributing to median costs. The project is underway and is expected to conclude in spring 2016.
Waddell Road Median (Litchfield Road to 1200 feet west): Work to add a landscaped median west of Litchfield Road began in January 2016 and is expected to run through February 2016.
Peoria Avenue (Reems Road to Sarival Avenue): Project will provide two travel lanes in the westbound direction. Lennar has started construction, which is expected to conclude in February 2016.
Greenway Road (Bullard Avenue to Litchfield Road): Project will add an additional lane in each direction. This project began in January 2016. Work is scheduled to conclude in June 2016, weather permitting.
The following are upcoming projects:
Cactus Road (south side) from Litchfield Road to Rail Road Tracks & Litchfield Road (east side) from Cactus Road to Desert Cove Road: The project will provide two travel lanes in one direction along Cactus (eastbound) and Litchfield (northbound). Construction is expected to begin in February 2016.
Landscaping Median (various locations): The project focuses on completing medians in the following locations:
Reems Road—Peoria to Cactus (1 mile) Bullard Avenue—Peoria to Cholla (1/2 mile) Waddell Road—175th to Citrus (1/2 mile) Sarival Road—Bell to Northwest Ranch Parkway (900 feet)
Construction is expected to begin in March/April 2016 with the individual sections prioritized as listed above.
Peoria Avenue (south side) from Greer Ranch Parkway to Reems Road: The project will provide two travel lanes in the eastbound direction. Construction will begin in April 2016.
Additionally, the Arizona Department of Transportation is managing several major improvement projects in and around the city. Loop 303 interchange connections at both U.S. 60 (Grand Ave) and El Mirage Road are expected to be completed this summer. Early work on the Bell Road bridge, which will carry traffic over Grand Avenue and the adjacent railway tracks, has begun with utility relocation. The project is scheduled to conclude over the next 14 months (in spring 2017). The full closure of Bell Road between 134th Avenue and West Point Parkway is scheduled to begin April 1 and will be in place for 6 – 8 months. For more information on this project, please visit www.azdot.gov/bellandgrand or you can call ADOT’s project hotline at 1.855.712.8530.
All project timelines are weather permitting. Please note, this list does not include regular (short duration) pavement preservation and maintenance or sidewalk maintenance projects.
Budget discussions will soon begin! Budget Manager Jared Askelson and Finance Director Lindsey Duncan will kick-off the discussions next week by providing the City Council with the Fiscal Year 2017 budget review of operating revenue at this upcoming City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 2 beginning at 6 p.m.
Events & Meetings
Valley Metro RPTA Board Meeting
On Thursday, January 21, I attended the Valley Metro RPTA meeting. Former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith was hired as Valley Metro’s interim CEO to help guide Valley Metro as we work to find a permanent replacement. Mr. Smith will officially fill the interim position on February 1.
Scott Smith spent 25 years in public accounting as a certified public accountant. He also served as the Mayor of Mesa from 2008 until 2014. He is well known for his advocacy of the light-rail expansion.
HOA Road Tour
As part of my promise to communicate to my constituents and the community regarding the upcoming Bell Road/Grand Avenue intersection project, I attended several HOA meetings this week, including the communities of Kingswood Parke, Litchfield Manor and West Point. I will continue the District 5 HOA tour to discuss the project with City staff and ADOT representation and keep all my constituents aware of any updates through my newsletter and webpage.
Dysart Unified School District Tour
On Friday, January 22, the Dysart Unified School District hosted a community tour of three of the twenty-four schools. Vice Mayor Biundo and Councilmembers Todd Tande, Roland Winters and I took part in this educational and informative excursion.
We first visited Canyon Ridge Elementary School where we experienced how the schools are adopting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum into project based teaching before visiting Valley Vista High School. At Valley Vista, we were led by student leaders who showed us the importance of Career and Technical Education through the law enforcement, fire sciences, and culinary programs. Our group was also treated to a rousing musical rendition from the play “Hamilton” where the choir was utilizing hip hop to share the experiences of our Founding Fathers before being treated to lunch by the exemplary culinary arts program. The conclusion of the tour was at Luke Elementary where we witnessed how students are adopting the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” through their leadership in the community through projects and programs like the Global International Academy.
A special thank you to Dr. Gail Pletnick, the Dysart Unified School District Board of Education and Dysart Communication Director Zachery Fountain for putting together this enlightening experience.
4th Annual Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival
Thunderbird Artists and the city hosted the 4th Annual Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival this past weekend at the Surprise Recreation Campus. The featured artist for the event was Batik artist, Paul Nzalamba. I stopped by the festival on Saturday, January 23, patronized some of the vendors and spoke to several residents. Overall the event continues to grow and is quite successful.
Meeting with Representative Phil Lovas
Deputy City Manager Nicole Lance and I met with Representative Phil Lovas on Monday, January 25 at the State Capitol to discuss two proposed bills he is sponsoring concerning HOAs. I will continue to follow these bills with Mrs. Lance through this current legislative session.
Bullard Avenue Task Force Meeting
City staff provided the Bullard Avenue Task Force with a traffic design plan, funding and project timeline information regarding Bullard Avenue, from Greenway to Peoria avenues, during a public meeting on Monday, January 25. Councilmembers Todd Tande, Rachel Villanueva and I were in attendance.
The city worked with a grant-funded Safe Routes to School design team to create a plan that incorporates the Task Force’s recommendations to retain the 35 mile-per-hour speed limit and restore two travel lanes in each direction. Also, due to heavier pedestrian crossings at the intersections at Acoma and Sweetwater, traffic signals will be added to complement existing crosswalks.
Since the beginning of the school year, staff research indicates the number of students crossing Bullard Road has dramatically increased, with as many as 600 students crossing per school day.
The city has secured $1.55 million in federal grant dollars, with a nearly $349,000 city match, for a total of $1.9 million to pay for the improvements. Bike lanes and cycle tracks will also be added along the road. Cycle tracks are bicycle lanes with a safety buffer that separates the bike lane from the main vehicular travel lanes. The funding was awarded due to the bike lanes providing multi-model use of the roadway.
Currently, final design will begin in February, with the required Environmental Assessment (EA) expected to be complete by the end of this calendar year, setting a tentative construction start date of fall 2017 and completion in early 2018. The EA is anticipated to take nine months, however construction may begin earlier if the EA is approved sooner.
To further attempt to expedite the construction start, the city is also working to secure year-end Federal Close-out funding through the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) that may push the construction start date up by two to three months.
Mark Your Calendar
Neighborhood Grant Program Information Session
If you are interested in applying for a grant through our Neighborhood Grant Program, please join our Assistant to the Council Jodi Tas and Human Service and Community Vitality Director Seth Dyson for an information session regarding this pilot program to help build community engagement. The session will be held in the City Council Overflow Room (enter through the Mayor’s Atrium) on Saturday, January 30 at 9 a.m.
Surprise Pops Band
The Surprise Pops band will be performing a free roaring 20’s concert on Saturday, January 30 at 3 p.m. at the Valley Vista Performing Arts Center located at 15550 N. Parkview Place. If you plan on attending, please bring a nonperishable food item for the Valley View Community Food Bank. Doors will open at 2:30 p.m. I hope to see you there!
Did You Know?
New City Website
The city launched a redesigned website, www.surpriseaz.gov, to enhance mobile functionality and make it easier for our users to connect to the information they are seeking. I encourage you to visit the website which now truly captures the beauty of our city.
Thank you to our Communications team led by Director Diane Arthur as they have put numerous hours working to get the website ready and more informative.