About This Website
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in cooperation with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), created this website to showcase Arizona’s history as viewed through the state's historic highway system. This system includes all state routes and US highways in Arizona built between 1912 and 1955, excluding the Interstates. Funding for the development of the "Exploring Arizona's Historic Roads" website was from a federal Transportation Enhancement activity grant. Transportation Enhancement (TE) activities are federally funded, community-based projects that expand travel choices and enhance the transportation experience by improving the cultural, historic, aesthetic and environmental aspects of our transportation infrastructure…The federal government provides funding for TE projects through our nation's surface transportation legislation.
Why a Website on Arizona’s Historic Highways?
Every day millions of people in Arizona use state highways to travel to work, home, schools, grocery stores, parks, government offices, and other important places. These roads link people and communities within the state and to the nation. Most of us take these roads for granted. We get in our vehicles with a destination in mind, and we travel from one point to another not thinking about what these roads mean to us or the role they play in our communities. What these roads mean to us is something that both FHWA and ADOT think about all the time. Not only are these transportation agencies responsible for ensuring safe and efficient road travel, but they are also responsible for being good stewards of our cultural heritage, which includes Arizona's historic highways.
In many places ancient Indian trails became historic wagon roads that were graded and paved for automobiles, which in turn became the routes for our modern highways. At each stage in this evolution, people used these pathways to travel across the landscape from one place to another. Many of these places became the towns and cities that we live in today. So, the story of our state highways is also the story of how our communities formed and have grown over time.
How to Use this Website
To find information and stories about one or more of Arizona’s historic highways, select a highway from the drop down menu on the right and click the enter button or click on an area of the map. Alternatively, you can look up information on specific highways using the Historic Highways tab on the left side of this Home Page.
For each highway that was part of the Arizona State Highway System between 1912 and 1955, information on location, length, beginning and ending mile posts (MP), as well as a link to a map, is provided. For many but not all of these roads, historic photographs may be posted. Stories associated with each of these historic highways are now being written. Thus, you will find stories for some but not all of these historic roads. With time, stories and historic photographs will be available for all of these historic roads.
For highways that have segments designated as Arizona scenic roads, we have provided a link that will take you to a description of that road, as well as stories if they are available.
A variety of maps showing the location of highways and highway features in the State of Arizona are available. Through the Maps tab, you will be able to see current representations of the Arizona state highway system, state milepost system, and scenic roads. You also will be able to see historic maps dating from the early twentieth century depicting the system as it grew and examples of Arizona highway markers. This tab also will direct you to another ADOT page that allows you to download ADOT maps.
The Resources tab currently contains types of information. Links and Major Archives lists URLs to other websites that present information on historic roads. It also lists Arizona libraries, archives, and museums where books, articles, and data files on and photographs of historic roads may be found, examined, and copied. FAQ responds to “frequently asked questions” about historic roads. Glossary of Terms presents a list of highway terms and their definitions that often are used when describing historic roads and current highways. Road Symbols depicts highway road signs observed along Arizona’s historic state highway system.
Your Comments and Recommendations
The Comments and Recommendations tab will take you to other ADOT web pages that discuss ADOT and its mission, responsibilities, programs, and plans. The Contact ADOT tab provides a telephone number and an email address to reach us with your questions and feedback concerning Arizona’s historic roads. We welcome your input!
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