If you're traveling in the west Valley, heads up--the number of traffic crashes are around the Bell Road construction area.
In the first three days of the major Bell Road overpass construction project, there have been nine traffic crashes, one of which was fatal, along Bell Road and the detour route, according to Sgt. Norm Owens with the Surprise Police Department.
Bell Road shut down Friday night for the construction project. Six of the crashes happened over the weekend, and three during the Monday morning commute. The number of crashes for the rest of Monday through today were not yet available.
“On my commute this week since it started, I’ve witnessed three accidents. Not witnessed them but seen them pulled off along the sides of the roads on the entire detour route," said driver Brandon Ong.
There were eight crashes in the same area in the previous two weeks, Owens said.
The Arizona Department of Transportation has set aside at least $80,000 for law enforcement needs for Surprise police officers and MCSO deputies to enforce traffic and speed laws around the construction and Sun City area, said Doug Nintzel, ADOT spokesman.
Nintzel acknowledges that the construction complicates drivers' commutes, but he says in the long run, the Bell Road overpass will improve traffic flow and allow Grand Avenue traffic and the trains to run underneath Bell Road.
Bell Road will be closed from 134th Drive to West Point Parkway until November.
The designated detour routes are Dysart, Greenway and Litchfield Roads.
Meanwhile, some drivers are saying people just need to plan ahead and give themselves extra time.
“Probably 10 to 15 minutes. You just plan your day different. In the long run, it’s going to be an improvement," said driver Jeff Saunders.