A groundbreaking last week for an interchange at Lindsay Road and Loop 202 marked a ceremonial step toward a long-sought project that will help relieve traffic congestion in Gilbert’s Central Business District, including the 250-acre mixed-use Rivulon development.
The town is partnering with Arizona Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration on the project, which is scheduled to open to motorists in February 2022.
Drivers should expect minimal restrictions at times along Loop 202 while the new ramps and a frontage road on the north side of the freeway are being built, said Doug Nintzel, spokesman for ADOT, which is managing the interchange construction.
Restrictions also are expected along Lindsay Road as the project advances, Nintzel said.
He said ADOT and the town will provide updates on restrictions throughout the duration of the construction.
Besides construction of the westbound frontage road between Lindsay and Gilbert roads there will be a widening of the Gilbert westbound off-ramp and the Val Vista Drive eastbound off-ramp.
The work also consists of building a diamond traffic interchange at Lindsay Road and a fourth general-purpose freeway lane that will be constructed in the future, according to ADOT.
Nintzel said ADOT’s portion of the project’s cost comes to $21.7 million.
Gilbert’s cost to do the project was approximately $13 million, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Harrison.
The breakdown included $2.5 million for the interchange’s design; $200,000 toward the construction of the interchange and $250,000 for the cost of the land for the interchange.
Harrison said $10 million also was spent for construction of early relocates.
The project was broken up into two phases and the early relocates refers to the initial phase that included the relocation of the Roosevelt Water Conservation District and Salt River Project facilities, she explained.
Nintzel said the town and the Maricopa Association of Governments are the lead partner agencies on funding for the work.
“Sources are a combination of federal aid and regional transportation funds, with a local funding match,” he said.
According to town officials, the project is needed as development pushes south bringing increased traffic from residents traveling to work, shop, learn and play.
The lack of an interchange has created substantial traffic on both Gilbert Road and Val Vista Drive and also restricts development along the Loop 202 near Lindsay, according to the town.
With the incoming interchange, Zanjero Park at the southeast corner of Lindsay and Loop 202 will see some changes in its parking layout and access, though on the whole officials don’t expect permanent impact to the site.
Plans also called for building sidewalks and cross walks at the ramp intersections that will provide better connectivity from the transportation system to the park.
Additionally, new traffic signals will be installed for the interchange ramp intersections at Lindsay Road just north of the park.
The town has been prepping for the interchange by widening Lindsay Road between Pecos Road and Loop 202 to three lanes in each direction.
Widening of Lindsay between 202 and Germann Road and Germann Road between Gilbert Road and Val Vista Drive to three lanes in each direction are expected to begin soon, according to officials.
Both Gilbert Road and Val Vista Drive currently carry between 30,000 and 45,000 vehicles per day. Lindsay Road carries approximately 12,000, according to a 2014 report by Maricopa Association of Governments, the regional transportation authority.
Traffic projections for 2035 daily volumes on Gilbert Road and Val Vista Drive were anticipated to grow between 30 percent and 60 percent, respectively, according to MAG.
With the addition of the interchange at Lindsay Road, it’s expected to shift traffic from the Gilbert Road and Val Vista Drive interchanges to the Lindsay Road interchange.
MAG predicted the traffic volume in 2035 on Gilbert Road and Val Vista Drive would decrease by 5,000 and 8,000 vehicles, respectively while volumes on Lindsay Road would increase by as much as 20,000 vehicles.
Gilbert’s stretch of Loop 202 opened in 2006 and runs from Gilbert Road east to Power Road, where it turns north to Mesa.
Six freeway interchanges currently provide access to Gilbert. The only other freeway that serves the town is U.S. 60, a half mile north of and parallel to Gilbert’s north border.
The town’s General Plan includes intense office, retail, light industrial and employment uses along the 202 corridor and potential development within the project area could double the amount of office space that currently exists in Gilbert.