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Surprise Business Sees Downturn After Bell Road Closure

bell grand closure
(Photo by Casey Kuhn - KJZZ)
A pile of competing signs for businesses, like Daniel's Original Mexican Food, not easily seen from Bell Road before the closure.

The city of Surprise has contacted businesses by Bell Road at Grand Avenue to help keep business running as usual. But in the first week of construction, some local shops are feeling left behind.

On Bell Road near an eyewear shop, construction workers start on overpass construction projected to take six to eight months.

One employee said business is fine at the shop because traffic is sent into its parking lot, before the closure.

But, to offset any possible business downturns, Surprise offered extra signage to places like Daniel’s Original Mexican Food, a family restaurant owned and operated by Daniel Avila.

The restaurant sits back from the main road at the very end of the shopping complex, so Avila said Surprise's sign offer is welcome.

But he said while he appreciates the effort, instead of his usual 60 customers a day, he saw 15.

Avila thinks the overpass is a good thing though and has already ordered four more signs from the city.

A slowdown in business isn’t the only problem. Avila said he’s seen an accident since Bell closed, and Surprise police reported nine collisions in the detour around the intersection over the weekend.

The Arizona Department of Transportation says it’s too early to tell where to address any traffic problems but has set aside $80,000 for extra law enforcement in the area.

Casey Kuhn reports from KJZZ’s West Valley Bureau. She comes to Phoenix from the Midwest, where she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.Kuhn got her start in radio reporting in college at the community public radio station, WFHB. She volunteered there as a reporter and worked her way up to host the half-hour, daily news show. After graduating, she became a multimedia reporter at Bloomington's NPR/PBS station WFIU/WTIU, where she reported for and produced a weekly statewide news television show.Since moving to the Southwest, she’s discovered a passion for reporting on rural issues, agriculture and the diverse people who make up her community.Kuhn was born and raised in Cincinnati, where her parents instilled in her a love of baseball, dogs and good German beer. You’ll most likely find her around the Valley with a glass of prosecco in one hand and a graphic novel in the other.She finds the most compelling stories come from KJZZ’s listeners.