Drivers who pass through one of the busiest intersections in the Valley now have two reasons to celebrate. First—two years of a smoother commute after a bridge project eliminated delays caused by freight trains. And now, the renaming of that same bridge to honor military veterans. Two years after its construction, the new Veterans Bridge was dedicated at a ceremony in April hosted by the city of Surprise and attended by Governor Doug Ducey, Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, and Arizona Senate Majority Leader Rick Gray. “This is such a fitting name for this bridge,” said Surprise Mayor Skip Hall. “We have a high population of Veteran residents in our city, and I hope this serves as a reminder that they are honored and supported in Surprise.” Surprise has an adult population of approximately 14 percent veterans. The bridge has dramatically improved the flow of traffic by replacing the old intersection that was at ground level. Before the $41.9 million project, commuters were plagued by long lines and delays, especially when Bell Road drivers needed to cross both Grand Avenue and the parallel BNSF Railway tracks. Veterans Bridge travels over Grand Avenue and the railroad tracks, and traffic on Grand Avenue no longer has to stop at Bell Road. Instead, the two roadways are connected by on- and off-ramps built within the Grand Avenue median. The Grand Avenue and Bell Road interchange project was part of the Maricopa Association of Governments’ (MAG) Regional Transportation Plan approved by county voters in 2004. Funding for the interchange project came from a half-cent sales tax for transportation projects and from MAG federal highway funds. The project has been a welcome change to those who frequently travel the route. “Oh my, what a difference,” said Surprise resident Karen Short. “When we grew up, we had no air conditioning in our car, so it was always, ‘oh no!’ when we didn’t make the light and had to sit through three lights,” she said. “There is always going to be a lot of traffic on Bell, it’s a major artery, but the flow is so much better.” Sun City West resident Paul Chase has lived in the Valley 78 years. “Oh, big difference,” he said. “Trains used to stop everything. And now you can go right on over.” While Surprise operates the intersection, Grand Avenue also is designated as U.S. 60 and is part of the state highway system.