Northern Parkway as presently constructed is an approximately 6 mile mostly limited access highway located in the West Valley of the Phoenix Metropolitain area. Northern Parkway begins at Arizona Loop 303 in Glendale and extends east to the Agua Fria River as a freeway. East of the Agua Fria River the current corridor of Northern Parkway becomes part of existing Northern Avenue and ends at 111th Avenue. Northern Parkway is planned to be extended east from 111th Avenue to US Route 60 at Grand Avenue. Once completed, Northern Parkway will be a corridor spanning approximately 12.5 miles. Northern Parkway is maintained by the Maricopa County Department of Transportation and presently is an unnumbered highway.
Part 1; history of Northern Parkway
The origin of Northern Parkway dates to November 2001 when the corridor was identified as the location for a limited access highway by the city of Glendale. The Northern Parkway concept was developed and added into the Glendale Transportation Plan in cooperation with the Citizens Advisory Committee for Transportation Issues. The Northern Parkway corridor was included in the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Transportation Plan on October 1, 2003. During November 2004 Maricopa County voters approved Proposition 400 which extended a half cent sales tax which would fund Northern Parkway and other projects on the Regional Transportation Plan.
During 2008 the cities of Glendale, Peoria and El Mirage approved the design of Northern Parkway. During 2009 an Environmental Assessment for the Northern Parkway was prepared by the city of Glendale. The Federal Highway Administration and Arizona Department of Transportation approved a final Environmental Assessment regarding the Northern Parkway corridor on April 26, 2010. Conceptually, Northern Parkway was designed as a 12.5-mile mostly highway corridor which would extend from Arizona Loop 303 east to US Route 60 (Grand Avenue). Nothern Parkway was designed to have two at-grade intersections located at 107th Avenue and 111th Avenue.
Phase 1 of the Northern Parkway corridor included the segment from Arizona Loop 303 and Dysart Road. Phase 1 of the Northern Parkway would fully open to traffic during 2015.
Phase 2 of the Northern Parkway corridor originated at Dysart Road and terminated to the east at 111th Avenue. The Phase 2 corridor included a new eastbound bridge over the Agua Fria River. Construction of Phase 2 was reported as beginning in the January 20, 2019, Arizona Tribune. The delay in Phase 2 construction is attributed to a recession delaying population growth in the West Valley below projections. The Phase 2 corridor of Northern Parkway would ultimately conclude and be fully open to traffic during 2022.
Presently construction on Phase 3 of the Northern Parkway corridor is expected to commence during 2025 and presently still in a design phase. The Phase 3 corridor includes the segment from 111th Avenue east to 87th Avenue. The segment of Northern Parkway between 99th Avenue and 91st connecting to Arizona Loop 101 is to be taken over by the Arizona Department of Transportation upon completion. Existing Northern Avenue at Arizona Loop 101 is planned to be converted to a Diverging Diamond as part of Phase 3 construction.
Phase 4 of Northern Parkway from 87th Avenue east to US Route 60/Grand Avenue is expected to break ground during 2026. Once complete between Arizona Loop 303 and US Route 60 the Northern Parkway corridor will be approximately 12.5 miles.
A Maricopa County Association of Governments final report on Northern Parkway dated to December 2018 can be viewed here.
Part 2; a flyover of Northern Parkway
Existing Northern Parkway can easily be observed from flights departing west from Sky Harbor International Airport. Northern Parkway can be seen branching east from Arizona Loop 303 towards the Agua Fria River. Northern Parkway can be seen skirting the northern boundary of Luke Airforce Base and acting as a functional replacement of Northern Avenue west of the Agua Fria River. Northern Parkway through Phase 2 construction has exits at Arizona Loop 303, Sarival Avenue, Reems Road, Litchfield Road, Dysart Road and El Mirage Road.