Happy Valley Road: Pima Road to Alma School Road

Planning
Design
Construction

Initial construction is underway on a series of improvements to Happy Valley Rd. between Pima Rd. and Alma School Rd. 

Current construction activities include:

  • Crews are scheduled to remove sidewalk on the northeast corner of the Pima/Happy Valley intersection to prepare for work to bore electric conduit. Scheduled to begin the week of Nov. 7, this work will take place at various locations on the east side of Pima Road near Happy Valley Road. Crews will work at one location at a time with the outside northbound lane on Pima Road closed during daytime hours to accommodate the work. 

  • Landscape crews continue work salvaging native plants along Happy Valley Road, within the city’s right-of-way and easements, by spading and boxing trees to prepare for relocation to the contractor's nursery.

  • Utility crews continue work installing conduit on the north side of Happy Valley Road, east of Pima Road and moving in an easterly direction to Alma School Road. This work is taking place on the north side of the road, off the roadway. 

Pima Road and Happy Valley Road remain open for travel during this work; however, there may be lane shifts or turn restrictions to shift traffic away from the work zone. During construction, business and resident access will be maintained, although there may be times where the most direct route will not be accessible, so please allow extra time for your travel during construction. Work typically takes place weekdays during daytime hours, though some overnight concrete pours may occur as needed. Traffic control remains in place even during non-work hours and speeds are reduced near the work zone in the interest of safety. Thank you for your patience during construction. 

Project Overview

This project will widen Happy Valley Road to two through lanes in each direction with a landscaped median, curb and gutter, bike lanes, sidewalk and drainage improvements from Pima Road through the intersection of Alma School Road. The purpose of the proposed improvements is to improve capacity and operational efficiency.

The project will also include the improvement of the intersection of Happy Valley Road and Alma School Road to a multi­lane roundabout and evaluate the impacts and feasibility of a roundabout at the Happy Valley Road and Golf Course Drive intersection.

The plans were developed through a series of community meetings and will be constructed in conjunction with the Pima Road Improvements which are currently underway.  

The final noise report  (PDF) and noise memo  (PDF) were completed in August 2021.  Happy Valley Road will be completely resurfaced with new asphalt pavement which provides a noise reduction of 3-5 decibels.

The widening of this segment of Happy Valley Road is part of Scottsdale’s Transportation Master Plan. Funding for the project is currently part of the 5-year Capital Improvement Plan. The project budget is $19.9 Million and include the City of Scottsdale's Transportation 0.2% Sales Tax and Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Arterial Life Cycle Program (ALCP) funded by Proposition 400 regional transportation sales tax funds. 

Community Outreach

Public Meeting #3 - September 2021

The third public meeting was held in September 2021. The following materials were presented at the meeting:

Public Meeting #2 - May 9, 2019

The second project open house was held in May 2019. The following materials were presented at the meeting:

Public Meeting #1 - October 2018

The first project open house was held in October 2018. The following materials were presented at the meeting:

Tentative Project Schedule

Preliminary Assessment Began July 2018
First Public Meeting October 18, 2018
Neighborhood Meetings late - Winter 2018/2019
30 Percent Design Completion Fall 2019
Second Public Meeting May 9, 2019
60 Percent Completion Summer 2020
Third Public Meeting/Noise Analysis Results July 2020
Design Review Board Summer 2022
 Utility Relocations (By private companies) Spring/Summer 2022
Approximate Construction Start Summer 2022
All dates are tentative unless noted otherwise

Frequently Asked Questions

Project Purpose

Happy Valley is being improved to the City of Scottsdale’s current standard for a minor arterial street, which includes two travel lanes in each direction, landscaped median, bike lanes and pedestrian improvements.

On Happy Valley Road the speed limit will remain 45mph which is the current posted speed.

Yes, Happy Valley Road is classified as a minor arterial and therefore is a permissible truck route per City of Scottsdale Ordinance 17-60. All major streets in Scottsdale classified to be four or more lanes are designated as truck routes, although there are some exceptions, including Happy Valley Road east of Alma School Road.

Pedestrian & Aesthetic Improvements (e.g., bike lanes, sidewalk, landscape)

Yes, a raised landscaped median island will be constructed on Happy Valley Road.

Landscape will be a southwest arid scheme that includes Ironwoods, Palo Verdes, Bursage, Desert Marigold, Brittlebush and Creosote. Salvaged trees and cacti will be replanted as required by the city’s native plant ordinance.

The Happy Valley Road project will construct a new detached 6-foot sidewalk and 6-foot decomposed granite path along the south side of the road and a new detached 8-foot sidewalk along the north side of the road. The sidewalks and path are consistent with others in this part of the city and consistent with the city's complete streets policy, which encourages multi-modal transportation. While the sidewalk width cannot be altered, the landscaped buffer area bordering the sidewalk may be eliminated or reduced to minimize impacts to private property.

A 6-foot bike lane is being constructed as part of the Happy Valley Road project that is consistent with city design and policy standards. Any widening or alteration would not comply with those standards.

Trash cans should be placed in the landscape buffer area behind the back of curb.

The design team is currently working with the post office to determine mailbox locations. The postal service will want to install centralized cluster boxes for mail delivery.

Noise & Walls

The city's Public Works Division performed a noise study comparing rubberized and conventional asphalt and determined that there were no noticeable differences in noise abatement. Because rubberized asphalt costs significantly more than conventional asphalt and deteriorates approximately twice as fast, Scottsdale no longer uses it.

For projects that expand the capacity of roadways, the city does a full noise analysis of the project limits to identify potential impacts of 64-dBA (how noise is measured, in decibels) or more, or if noise levels exceed existing noise levels by 15-dBA. Existing noise levels are gathered to calibrate a model. Existing and projected traffic volumes are used to predict the noise levels that will occur after the project is constructed. Once the noise model is prepared, features such as noise walls are inserted into the model to determine how the noise levels can be improved. Typically, the height of the wall is varied until the noise levels are brought down within acceptable levels based on ADOT’s noise policy.

A noise analysis has been conducted incorporating the final design of the corridor. The results indicate that sound barrier walls along Happy Valley Road are not warranted as the future noise levels will not meet the thresholds for mitigation. Existing walls not in conflict with proposed improvements will be protected in place. Existing walls that do conflict with proposed improvements will be relocated (removed and reconstructed) so as not to conflict with project improvements.

An effort is being made through the design process to minimize roadway and drainage impacts to existing walls. However, walls will be impacted in some areas.

Drainage

The project will remove low water crossings on Happy Valley Road and collect the storm water run-off in a swale (small channel) on the north side of the roadway. The storm water can then be directed along its historical flow pattern to various culverts crossing beneath Happy Valley Road and maintain the historic regional flow patterns in the area. The project will also incorporate Low Impact Development (LID) principles to fit into the surrounding area.

Construction

Construction on Happy Valley Road will take place concurrently with construction on Pima Road, and both projects are tentatively slated to begin Fall 2021. This is contingent upon the completion of utility relocations and acquisition of the required additional rights of way needed to construct various improvements.

Construction will take 18-24 months to complete, including utility relocations necessary to construct the project. Combining the projects will lead to cost and time efficiencies.

While no long-term closures are anticipated for either project, short closures will be necessary to reconfigure traffic control and protect worker and public safety during project construction.

The projects can be constructed separately, but separate construction would increase time, cost and have a larger impact on the community.

An effort is being made through the design process to minimize roadway and drainage impacts to existing walls. However, walls will be impacted in some areas.

Traffic & Access

The proposed capacity improvements for Happy Valley Road, going from one lane to two lanes, will create wider gaps in existing traffic and, therefore, should make it easier to leave and enter the housing communities, golf course, church, and side streets that intersect with Happy Valley Road.

As part of the Happy Valley Road project, a merge lane will be provided at Eagles Glen to enable drivers to merge into eastbound traffic.

The addition of the roundabout at Golf Club Drive will help address speeding by requiring drivers to travel 20 miles per hour through the roundabout.

On Happy Valley Road the speed limit will remain 45mph which is the current posted speed.

The Happy Valley Road improvements project already includes proposed roundabouts at Alma School Road and at Golf Club Drive (Desert Highlands entrance) to better manage traffic access and speeds. Transportation staff discussed traffic control at 92nd Street and, while no traffic signal or other traffic controls are planned at the 92nd Street intersection as part of this project, the Transportation Department will continue to monitor operations, and if conditions warrant, could run a traffic signal warrant study once traffic patterns on Happy Valley Road return to normal upon completion of construction.

Yes, a raised landscaped median island will be constructed on Happy Valley Road.

School buses will continue to be able to stop on Happy Valley Road.

Vehicles will not be able to stage on Happy Valley Road. Currently, no curb and gutter exists so vehicles can stage without too greatly impacting the travel lanes; however, the project will install curb, gutter and a roundabout, so vehicles will be forced to continue driving on Happy Valley Road or residents will not be able to get to/from their homes or destinations. It will be somewhat self-enforcing, so that vehicles currently staging will have to better time their arrival or continue to drive around the area until they can get to their destination. If traffic issues persist as a result of staging, residents can also report it to the Scottsdale Police Department at (480) 312-2277.

The city has rarely witnessed any backup of traffic within a roundabout configuration. Improved traffic is one of the main benefits of roundabouts. The project team has also designed a wider entrance at Desert Highlands to help accommodate any excess traffic. It is anticipated that after an initial period of adjustment to the new improvements, traffic will flow more freely in this area. The intersection will be monitored once the improvements are completed.

Yes, Happy Valley Road is classified as a minor arterial and therefore is a permissible truck route per City of Scottsdale Ordinance 17-60. All major streets in Scottsdale classified to be four or more lanes are designated as truck routes, although there are some exceptions, including Happy Valley Road east of Alma School Road. Additionally, the regional traffic models maintained, updated and enhanced regularly by Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) were referenced and the data was utilized for traffic purposes.

Wildlife impacts as it relates to traffic was evaluated as part of the preserve improvements. The determination is that the number of traffic incidents between vehicles and large animals was minimal, and smaller wildlife can take advantage of the numerous drainage crossing culverts. The issue with animal crossings is that they don’t usually occur in one specific location, so the City's Transportation Department wouldn’t design for one unless there was some evidence that there was a specific wash or other corridor that was being utilized.

A specific traffic analysis was not conducted for this project; however, this project was part of Scottsdale's Transportation Master Plan and, as part of that planning process, a traffic analysis was conducted. In the Transportation Master Plan, this corridor is designated as a minor arterial, and this project will improve the roadway as required to be compliant with the City's standard for minor arterial roadways as defined in the City's Design Standards and Policy Manual. Additionally, the regional traffic models maintained, updated and enhanced regularly by Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) were referenced and the data was utilized for traffic purposes.

The limits of the current project for Happy Valley Road and for Pima Road do not extend that far north of Happy Valley so a traffic signal at Pima/Desert Highlands was not evaluated as part of this project. However, the City is aware that traffic restrictions may present some challenges during construction and will work with the contractor to identify when issues need addressing and, if needed, a course of action.

For residents with direct access to Happy Valley Road and no median opening to permit left turns onto Happy Valley Road, they should use the future roundabout at Golf Club Drive or Alma School Road, or make a u-turn at the next median opening or traffic signal at Pima Road to safely depart/arrive at their residence.

As drivers approach the roundabout, they must choose their travel lane based on where they are going to go, just like approaching a traditional intersection. For example, for eastbound travelers on Happy Valley, there are two lanes going into the roundabout. Drivers in the left lane will be required to go north on Alma School Road. Drivers in the right lane will be required to either turn right (south) on Alma School or continue through to eastbound Happy Valley Road. Similarly, for westbound travelers, they will need to determine whether they take the right lane which will direct them to northbound Alma School, or the left lane which will allow them to go through to westbound Happy Valley or around the roundabout to southbound Alma School Road. Please see the other FAQs on roundabouts to understand why roundabouts are configured the way they are in relation to traffic volumes and routes.

Roundabouts

The city considers criteria such as traffic volumes, patterns and speed when deciding the best configuration for an intersection. Roundabouts are often a good option to improve safety, traffic flow or capacity when there's a relatively moderate, balanced volume of traffic among all approaches to the intersection.

Traffic volumes, patterns and speed are considered when deciding the best configuration for an intersection. Roundabouts are often a good option to improve safety, traffic flow or capacity when there's a relatively moderate, balanced volume of traffic among all approaches to the intersection. The city also considers criteria such as traffic capacity analyses, right-of-way acquisition, safety (vehicular, bicycle, pedestrian) and roundabout geometrics when evaluating whether to implement a roundabout. The roundabout at Alma School Road was found to satisfy these considerations and was approved by the city as the preferred alternative.

The Desert Highlands HOA completed a traffic warrant analysis, and a roundabout was determined to be a better option than a traffic signal. Following are some of the benefits of a roundabout at Golf Club Drive:

Decreased traffic delay
The roundabout will lessen traffic delays for side street traffic entering and exiting the 563 homes in Desert Highlands, the 150+ employees of Desert Highland Golf Club and the 8 lots of Tres Casa on the south side of Happy Valley Road.
Faster commute times
The roundabout significantly reduces the number of vehicle stops and provides safe, continuous traffic flow of the intersecting streets.
Enhanced operational safety
By eliminating high-speed left turn conflicts, the roundabout improves traffic safety for the Happy Valley Road corridor.
Calmer traffic
Calmer traffic improves the safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

Yes, the roundabouts are designed to accommodate larger vehicles and trucks, such as tractor trailers.

The Happy Valley Road improvements project already includes proposed roundabouts at Alma School Road and at Golf Club Drive (Desert Highlands entrance) to better manage traffic access and speeds. Transportation staff discussed traffic control at 92nd Street and, while no traffic signal or other traffic controls are planned at the 92nd Street intersection as part of this project, the Transportation Department will continue to monitor operations, and if conditions warrant, could run a traffic signal warrant study once traffic patterns on Happy Valley Road return to normal upon completion of construction.

Project Information

Budget: $19.9 million

Sponsoring Division: Transportation

Funding Source: Regional Sales Tax, Transportation 0.2% Sales Tax

Project Location: Happy Valley Road from Pima Road to Alma School Road

Contact Information

Project Hotline
480-898-4110

Construction Information