Skip to main content

US Routes through Phoenix, AZ

When I was living in Phoenix I once tracked the path of all the US Route alignments that once existed through the City.  At the intersection of Van Buren Street and Grand Avenue pictured below four US Routes once met in downtown Phoenix; US 60, US 70, US 80, and US 89. 






Even though Phoenix is mostly associates with US 60, US 70, US 80, and US 89 it hosted several other routes throughout it's history.  As originally planned the Bureau of Public Roads had US 80 meeting US 280 at the intersection of Van Buren Street and Grand Avenue.  US 280 was meant to travel north out of Phoenix via Grand Avenue through Prescott to US 66 in Ash Fork.  Ultimately the routing of US 280 was never signed and became US 89. The map below shows Bureau of Public Roads Map of US Routes systems in Arizona as originally planned.

1926 Arizona State Highway Map

US 80 was the only US Route through Phoenix that was routed as originally planned.  Heading eastward US 80 entered Phoenix on Buckeye Road.  At 17th Avenue US 80 turned north for a couple blocks and dipped over this 12'0 underpass still use today.





At Van Buren Street US 80 turned east through downtown where it eventually picked up US 60, 70, and 89 at Grand Avenue.  US 80 used Van Buren Street to eastward towards Tempe where it crossed the Salt River with US 60, 70, and 89 on Mill Avenue.  US 80 remained routed through Phoenix until 1979 according to USends.com.

USends.com on US 80

US 89 as stated above was planned US 280 along Grand Avenue to US 80 on Van Buren Street.  US 89 ultimately was signed south to the Mexican Border when signage of US Routes began.  Ultimately Grand Avenue would become the route of US 60, 70, and 89 between downtown Phoenix to downtown Wickenburg.  US 89 remained in Phoenix until it shifted north to Flagstaff in 1992 according to USends.com.

USends.com on US 89

US 60 presently is the only US Route still active in Phoenix.  Today US 60 multiplexes I-10 into downtown Phoenix and slightly north on I-17 to Grand Avenue where it branches westward.  US 60 extended all the way to Los Angeles in 1932 which in turn routed it through Phoenix according to USends.com.

USends.com on US 60

The building of US 60 in eastern Arizona through the Salt River Canyon took several years to complete.  On the 1935 State Highway Map US 60 can be seen following the original alignment of AZ 73 from Fort Apache to San Carlos where it met the original US 180. 

1935 Arizona State Highway Map

By 1938 US 60 through Salt River Canyon had been completed and can be seen meeting US 70 in Globe which replaced US 180.

1938 State Highway Map

According to USends the routing of US 70 was extended to Los Angeles by 1934 but it doesn't appear on the 1935 Arizona State Highway Map.  US 70 existed through Phoenix until the late 1960s when the highway was eventually truncated to Globe by 1969. 

USends.com on US 70

Interestingly at one point AZ 93 was also routed through downtown Phoenix on Grand Avenue and Van Buren Street.  AZ 93 had a variation from US 89 in Mesa when it split south on AZ 87 onto it's own alignment which essentially became the routing of I-10 in the Gila River Reservation.  AZ 93 was an extension of US 93 that was routed through Phoenix in 1954 according to Arizonaroads.com.

Arizonaroads.com on AZ 93

Topographical maps show AZ 93 present in Phoenix as late as 1983 but I'm not clear on the date it was decomissioned.  This map from 1971 shows the alignment of US 60, 80, 89, and AZ 93 through the Phoenix area.  The map shows I-17 completed in the Phoenix area with some of I-10 east of downtown.  The AZ 360 freeway was ultimately built and became the modern alignment of US 60 through the eastern Valley. 

1971 Arizona State Highway Map City Insert

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Where the hell is Hill Valley? (US Route 8 south/US Route 395 east)

Recently I made a visit to Universal Studios near Los Angeles.  While on the back lot tour I came across a piece of infamous movie-borne fictional highway infamy; the location of town square of Hill Valley, California on US Route 8/US Route 395. The above photo is part of the intro scene to the first Back-to-the-Future movie which was set in 1985. To anyone who follows roadways the signage error of US 8 meeting US 395 in California is an immediately notable error.  For one; US 8 doesn't even exist anywhere near California with present alignment being signed as an east/west highway between Norway, Michigan and Forest Lake, Minnesota.  To make matters worse US 8 is signed as a southbound route and US 395 (a north/south highway) is signed as an eastbound route.  At minimum the cut-out US 8 and US 395 shields somewhat resemble what Caltrans used in the 1980s. Assuming Hill Valley is located on what would have been US 395 by 1985 what locales would be a viable real world analog? 

The Vague Original Southern Terminus of US Route 91 in the Californian Mojave Desert

One of the more intriguing mysteries of the early US Route System in California is where the original south terminus of US Route 91 was intended to be located in the Mojave Desert.  This blog is a little different than my usual behind the wheel fare and explores why US Route 91 ultimately ended at US Route 66 in Daggett instead of Bannock. What ultimately became the US Route System was first discussed during the American Association of State Highway Officials ("AASHO") during their annual 1924 meeting.  Ultimately the AASHO recommended to the Department of Agriculture to work with the States to develop a system of Interstate Highways to replace the many Auto Trails in use.  The Joint Board on Interstate Highways was ultimately commissioned by the Department of Agriculture and it's branch agency the Bureau of Public Roads in March of 1925.  The Joint Board on Interstate Highways first met in April of 1925 and decided on the new interstate road network would be known a

Legend of the Ridge Route; a history of crossing the mountains between the Los Angeles Basin and San Joaquin Valley from wagon trails to Interstates

Over the past two decades I've crossed the Interstate 5 corridor from Los Angeles north over the Sierra Pelona Mountains and Tehachapi Range to San Joaquin Valley what seems to be an immeasurable number of times.  While Interstate 5 from Castaic Junction to Grapevine via Tejon Pass today is known to most as "The Grapevine" it occupies a corridor which has been traversed by numerous historic highways.  The most notable of these highways is known as the "Ridge Route."  This article is dedicated to the Ridge Route and the various highways that preceded it.  The Ridge Route is a 44 mile section of highway which was completed in 1915.  The Ridge Route originally stretched from Castaic Junction north over Liebre Summit and Tejon Pass to the tiny community of Grapevine.  In spite of a roadway that once utilized nearly 700 curves the Ridge Route is generally considered far ahead of it's time and one of the first modern highways constructed for automotive use.