Interstate 40 in Arizona

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Interstate 40 marker

Interstate 40
Route information
Maintained by ADOT
Length: 359.11 mi[1] (577.93 km)
Major junctions
West end: I-40 at California state line
  US 93 in Kingman
I-17 in Flagstaff
US 89 / US 180 in Flagstaff
US 180 in Holbrook
US 191 near Sanders
East end: I-40 at New Mexico state line
Highway system
  • State Routes in Arizona
SR 30 SR 48

Interstate 40 (I-40) is an east–west Interstate Highway that has a 359.6-mile (578.72 km) section in the U.S. state of Arizona connecting sections in California to New Mexico. It enters Arizona from the west at a crossing of the Colorado River southwest of Kingman. It travels eastward across the northern portion of the state connecting the cities of Kingman, Ash Fork, Williams, Flagstaff, Winslow, and Holbrook. I-40 continues into New Mexico, heading to Albuquerque. The highway has major junctions with U.S. Route 93 (US 93) in Kingman, the main highway connecting Phoenix and Las Vegas, Nevada, and I-17 in Flagstaff, the Interstate linking Phoenix and Flagstaff.

For the majority of its routing through Arizona, I-40 follows the historic alignment of U.S. Route 66. The lone exception is a stretch between Kingman and Ash Fork where US 66 took a more northerly, less direct route that is now State Route 66. Construction of I-40 was ongoing in the 1960s and 1970s and reached completion in 1984. With the completion of I-40 in 1984, the entire routing of US 66 had been bypassed by Interstate Highways which led to its decertification a year later in 1985.

Route description[edit]

California to Flagstaff[edit]

I-40 eastbound heading towards Flagstaff

I-40 enters Arizona from California at a crossing of the Colorado River at Topock in Mohave County. It heads east from Topock and begins to curve towards the north at Franconia and completes the curve to the north at Yucca. The Interstate continues to head north until it reaches Kingman. In Kingman, I-40 has a junction with US 93 at exit 48. US 93 heads towards the northwest from this junction to Hoover Dam and Las Vegas. US 93 south begins to run concurrently with I-40 as they both head east through Kingman. The two separate at exit 71 as US 93 heads towards the south towards Phoenix while I-40 heads east towards Flagstaff. I-40 continues towards the east, passing through the town of Seligman then Ash Fork, where in meets State Route 89, the main route south to Prescott. Next it passes through Williams; exit 165 SR 64 heads north towards the Grand Canyon National Park. I-40 continues to the east to Flagstaff, where it has a junction with I-17 at exit 195. I-17 heads south from the interchange with I-40 to Phoenix.[1]

Flagstaff to New Mexico[edit]

East of Flagstaff, I-40 heads towards the east-southeast as it heads to the town of Winslow. It continues towards this direction until it reaches Holbrook, where it curves towards the northeast. Along this stretch it passes through the Petrified Forest National Park. It continues to the northeast, passing through Chambers and enters the Navajo Indian Reservation. The highway continues to the northeast to the New Mexico border southwest of Gallup, New Mexico as it continues on towards Albuquerque.[1]

History[edit]

With the exception of a stretch between Kingman and Flagstaff, I-40 directly replaced the famed US 66 across northern Arizona. Where possible, US 66 was upgraded to Interstate standards to become I-40 directly. Exceptions to this were through the central business districts of the cities and towns that US 66 passed through, and I-40 had to be built as a bypass outside the cities. On October 26, 1984, after the last section of I-40 was completed in Williams, US 66 was removed from the state highway system of Arizona. The portions through cities that did not overlap I-40 would become business loops of I-40.[2]

Before the U.S. Highways[edit]

The routing of a road near the current corridor of I-40 in Arizona was first surveyed and built between 1857 and 1859. Lt. Edward Beale and his soldiers built the road along the 35th parallel that would come to be known as the Beale Wagon Road from Ft. Smith, Arkansas to the Colorado River to serve as a military wagon road. The road was a popular route for immigrants during the 1860s and 1870s until the transcontinental railroad was built across northern Arizona in the 1880s. In the early 1900s, the road became part of the National Old Trails Road, a transcontinental route from Baltimore, Maryland to California, and the National Park to Park Highway, an auto trail linking the national parks of the west.[3]

U.S. Route 66[edit]

In the 1920s, as a nationwide system of highways called the United States Numbered Highways was being developed, the route through was given the designation of U.S. Route 60. This designation was controversial since designations that are multiples of 10 are assigned to transcontinental east–west routes and this route was a diagonal route from Chicago to Los Angeles. As a compromise to states east of Chicago that felt US 60 should go through their state, a different route was given the number 60, while the route from Chicago to Los Angeles was given the number 66.[4]

I-40 westbound heading towards Flagstaff

By 1927, the routing of US 66 through Arizona had been laid out, but none of it had been paved yet.[5] By 1935, nearly the entire route had been paved, with the lone exceptions being a short stretch northeast of Valentine and a stretch between Peach Springs and Seligman.[6] By 1938, the entire route in Arizona had been paved.[7] In 1953, US 66 was realigned between the California border and Kingman to an alignment to the southeast to avoid the mountain curves and grades of the original alignment. By 1961, several sections of the highway had been expanded to a four-lane divided highway in anticipation of the coming Interstate Highway. Four-lane sections included a section near Ash Fork, another section east of Winslow and a section east of Holbrook near the Petrified Forest National Monument.[8]

Planning[edit]

In Flagstaff, several different alternatives were considered as a potential routing of the new Interstate through the area. The alternatives consisted of a routing north of downtown, south of downtown, through downtown along the Santa Fe Railroad right-of-way near the alignment of US 66, and a more elaborate alternative of a routing above downtown on a long overpass. In January 1959, the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce recommended to the Bureau of Public Roads that the route south of downtown be used which was approved by the Flagstaff City Council and the Board of Supervisors for Coconino County. This recommendation was accepted and would become the planned routing of I-40 in Flagstaff.[9] Business owners along US 66 were opposed to this routing as it would draw motorists away from main through route of the time, US 66. As a result, they created the No By-Pass Committee and sent a proposal to the Chamber of Commerce’s Roads and Highways Committee to conduct a study of the feasibility of a route for I-40 through downtown along the Santa Fe railroad right-of-way. The Committee sent an inquiry to the railroad concerning the proposal. The railroad rejected the proposed rerouting of their main rail lines citing that it would result in worse grades than what currently exists and in order to reduce those grades, considerable lengthening of the rail line would be required.[10] With a routing through town now out of the question, the business owners along US 66 drafted a city ordinance, known as Initiative 200, that was filed with the city of Flagstaff in November 1959 to appear on the general election ballot in March 1960. The ordinance would in effect ban all new commercial businesses on I-40, all routes leading from I-40 to US 66, and the area between I-40 and US 66.[11] In a record voter turnout, voters overwhelmingly voted against the ordinance by a vote of 2,280 to 556.[12]

In 1965, the routing of I-40 west of Kingman was being reconsidered from the planned route through Needles, California to a route to the north passing through Searchlight in southern Nevada and connecting with I-15 further north of its present connection with I-15. The rationale for the proposal was that it would be an overall shorter route and would cost much less to construct.[13] The proposal was met with stiff opposition including all four U.S. senators from California and Arizona sending the Secretary of Commerce letters requesting that the routing through Needles be retained.[14] This proposal was eventually abandoned in 1966 and the routing through Needles was kept.[15]

Construction[edit]

I-40 near the New Mexico border

The construction of the 360-mile (579 km) route of I-40 across Arizona took nearly 25 years to complete with the last segment being completed in 1984, much longer than the ambitious goal of finishing by 1972. By the end of 1960, 15 miles (24 km) had been completed with an additional 23 miles (37 km) miles being worked on.[16] In 1964, construction was still on schedule with 58 miles (93 km) complete and an additional 71 miles (114 km) under construction. Funding was becoming an issue at this time as the state lacked the available funds to stay on pace with a 1972 completion goal.[17] By 1967, Arizona had completed almost half of the highway with 155.3 miles (249.9 km) complete and another 82.4 miles (133 km) under construction.[18] In 1968, the bypass around Flagstaff was complete with three interchanges, two at each end of where US 66 split off from I-40 to enter the city and one at the I-17 interchange. An additional interchange at Butler Avenue was completed a year later.[19] One of the big improvements of I-40 over US 66 was the construction of the segment between Kingman and Ash Fork. The 94-mile (151 km) section is a more direct route between the two cities and travels as far as 20 miles (32 km) south of the US 66 alignment, bypassing Hackberry and Peach Springs and creating ghost towns. Construction of the $69.1 million segment was also to be a much safer route as the US 66 alignment had one of the highest fatality rates of any section of highway in Arizona. This section of the Interstate was complete in 1975.[20] Construction of the $7.7 million bypass around Winslow began in 1977.[21] I-40 was completed in Arizona in 1984, with the completion of a 6-mile (10 km) section in Williams.[22] This was also the last section of US 66 to be bypassed by the Interstate, which led to it being decertified by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) the following year.[23]

Exit list[edit]

County Location Mile[1] km Exit Destinations Notes
Mohave Topock 0.55 0.89 1 SR 95 north – Golden Shores, Oatman West end of SR 95 overlap
  2.99 4.81 2 Needle Mountain Road
  9.79 15.76 9 SR 95 south – Lake Havasu City, Parker East end of SR 95 overlap
  13.16 21.18 13 Franconia Road
  20.14 32.41 20 Santa Fe Ranch Road
Yucca 25.19 40.54 25 Alamo Road
26.18 42.13 26 Proving Ground Road No westbound entrance
  28.75 46.27 28 Old Trails Road
  37.03 59.59 37 Griffith Road
  44.32 71.33 44 Shinarump Drive, Oatman Highway
Kingman 48.86 78.63 48 US 66 (historic).svg I-40 Bus. east (Beale Street) to US 93 north / SR 68 – Las Vegas West end of US 93 overlap
51.69 83.19 51 Stockton Hill Road
53.07 85.41 53 US 66 (historic).svg I-40 Bus. west (Andy Devine Avenue) / SR 66 – Kingman Airport
  59.21 95.29 59 DW Ranch Road
  66.02 106.25 66 Blake Ranch Road
  71.52 115.10 71 US 93 south – Wickenburg, Phoenix East end of US 93 overlap
  78.90 126.98 79 Silver Springs Road
  87.01 140.03 87 Willows Ranch Road
  91.12 146.64 91 Fort Rock Road
Yavapai   95.45 153.61 96 Cross Mountain Road
  102.99 165.75 103 Jolly Road
  109.07 175.53 109 Anvil Rock Road
Seligman 120.49 193.91 121 I-40 Bus. east to SR 66 – Seligman, Peach Springs
  122.72 197.50 123 I-40 Bus. west to SR 66 – Seligman, Peach Springs
  139.28 224.15 139 Crookton Road Former US 66 west
Ash Fork 144.37 232.34 144 I-40 Bus. east – Ash Fork
145.69 234.47 146 SR 89 south / I-40 Bus. west – Prescott, Ash Fork West end of SR 89 overlap
Coconino   147.68 237.67 148 County Line Road
  148.57 239.10 149 Monte Carlo Road
  151.23 243.38 151 Welch Road
  157.20 252.99 157 Devil Dog Road
Williams 161.38 259.72 161 US 66 (historic).svg I-40 Bus. east – Williams, Grand Canyon National Park
162.95 262.24 163 Williams, Grand Canyon National Park
165.41 266.20 165 I-40 Bus. west / SR 64 north – Williams, Grand Canyon National Park Former US 66 west
  167.09 268.91 167 Garland Prairie Road, Circle Pines Road
  171.10 275.36 171 Pittman Valley Road, Deer Farm Road
  177.81 286.16 178 Parks Road
  184.68 297.21 185 Transwestern Road – Bellemont/Navajo Army Depot
  190.10 305.94 190 A-1 Mountain Road
  191.26 307.80 191 I-40 Bus. east – Flagstaff
  192.12 309.19 192 Flagstaff Ranch Road
Flagstaff 194.63–
195.25
313.23–
314.22
195 I-17 south / SR 89A to US 180 – Phoenix, Flagstaff
197.86 318.42 198 Butler Avenue
200.65 322.91 201 I-40 Bus. west / US 89 north / US 180 west – Flagstaff, Page West end of US 180 overlap
204.42 328.98 204 Walnut Canyon National Monument
  206.79 332.80 207 Cosnino Road
  210.72 339.12 211 Winona
  219.13 352.66 219 Twin Arrows
  224.60 361.46 225 Buffalo Range Road
  230.01 370.17 230 Two Guns
  233.43 375.67 233 Meteor Crater Road
  239.22 384.99 239 Meteor City Road
  244.94 394.19 245 SR 99 north – Leupp West end of SR 99 overlap
Navajo Winslow 251.58 404.88 252 I-40 Bus. east (Hipkoe Drive, SR 99 south) East end of SR 99 overlap
253.08 407.29 253 North Park Drive
255.21 410.72 255 I-40 Bus. west (Transcon Lane)
  257.16 413.86 257 SR 87 north – Second Mesa
  264.18 425.16 264 Hibbard Road
  269.43 433.61 269 Jackrabbit Road
Joseph City 274.19 441.27 274 I-40 Bus. east – Joseph City
276.55 445.06 277 I-40 Bus. west – Joseph City
  280.13 450.83 280 Hunt Road, Geronimo Road
  283.13 455.65 283 Perkins Valley Road
Holbrook 284.67 458.13 285 I-40 Bus. east / US 180 east to SR 77 south – Show Low, Petrified Forest National Park East end of US 180 overlap; westbound exit is via exit 286
286.38 460.88 286 I-40 Bus. / SR 77 south to US 180 east to SR 377 south (Navajo Boulevard) – Show Low West end of SR 77 overlap; eastbound exit is via exit 285
289.00 465.10 289 I-40 Bus. west (Navajo Boulevard)
  292.32 470.44 292 SR 77 north – Indian Wells East end of SR 77 overlap
  294.03 473.20 294 Sun Valley Road
  299.67 482.27 300 Goodwater
  303.09 487.78 303 Adamana Road
Apache   311.06 500.60 311 Petrified Forest National Park
  319.49 514.17 320 Pinta Road
  325.41 523.70 325 Navajo
  329.49 530.26 330 Mc Carrell Road
  333.04 535.98 333 US 191 north – Ganado West end of US 191 overlap
  339.00 545.57 339 US 191 south – St. Johns East end of US 191 overlap
  341.33 549.32 341 Ortega Road
  343.32 552.52 343 Querino Road
  346.05 556.91 346 Pine Springs Road
  347.65 559.49 348 St. Anselm Road
  350.85 564.64 351 Allentown Road
  354.11 569.88 354 Hawthorne Road
  357.02 574.57 357 BIA Route 12 north – Window Rock
  358.69 577.26 359 Grants Road
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Arizona Department of Transportation. "2008 ADOT Highway Log". Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  2. ^ Arizona Department of Transportation (1984-10-26). "ADOT Right-of-Way Resolutions 1984-10-A-064, 1984-10-A-065, 1984-10-A-066, 1984-10-A-067". Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  3. ^ Arizona Department of Transportation. "Good Roads Everywhere: A History of Road Building in Arizona". Archived from the original on April 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  4. ^ Weingroff, Richard. "From Names to Numbers: The Origins of the U.S. Numbered Highway System". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  5. ^ Rand McNally (1927). Auto Road Map of Arizona and New Mexico (Map). http://www.arizonaroads.com/maps/index.html. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
  6. ^ Arizona State Highway Department (1935). Road Map of Arizona (Map). http://www.arizonaroads.com/maps/index.html. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
  7. ^ Rand McNally (1938). Auto Road Map of Arizona and New Mexico (Map). http://www.arizonaroads.com/maps/index.html. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
  8. ^ Rand McNally (1961). Road Map of Arizona (Map). http://www.arizonaroads.com/maps/index.html. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
  9. ^ Lowery, Dennis (1960-03-01). "Initiative Part of Bigger Dispute". Arizona Daily Sun. p. 1. 
  10. ^ "Relocation Here Impossible, SF Says". Arizona Daily Sun. 1959-05-20. p. 1. 
  11. ^ Lowery, Dennis (1960-02-29). "Initiative 200 Brews Up a Storm". Arizona Daily Sun. p. 1. 
  12. ^ "Flagstaff City Election Results". Arizona Daily Sun. 1960-03-10. p. 5. 
  13. ^ "Needles Future at Stake in Routing of Highway 40". Pasadena, California: The Independent. November 4, 1965. 
  14. ^ "Interstate 40 Routing Plea Made". Los Angeles Times. September 9, 1965. p. A10. 
  15. ^ "Needles Wins Its Fight to Keep Interstate 40". Los Angeles Times. February 3, 1966. p. 3. 
  16. ^ Lesure, Thomas (December 11, 1960). "Arizona Highway Dream Comes True". New York Times. p. XX20. 
  17. ^ "I-40 Work On Schedule State Says". Yuma Daily Sun. September 22, 1964. p. 10. 
  18. ^ Lederer, Edith (September 22, 1967). "High Cost Highways:Funds Tie Ups Interstate String". Fresno Bee. 
  19. ^ "Butler Busy Center". Arizona Daily Sun. October 21, 1971. p. B7. 
  20. ^ "Kingman, Ash Fork Cutoff Progressing". Arizona Daily Sun. March 2, 1971. p. 9. 
  21. ^ "Sundt Gets Contract For Winslow Bypass". December 4, 1977. p. 3. 
  22. ^ "It's the End of the Road for Route 66". Philadelphia Inquirer. October 14, 1984. p. A17. 
  23. ^ "You Can No Longer Get Kicks on Route 66". Wichita, Kansas: Wichita Eagle. June 29, 1985. p. 1A. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing


Interstate 40
Previous state:
California
Arizona Next state:
New Mexico