Arizona State Route 153
|Sky Harbor Expressway
South 44th Street
|Maintained by City of Phoenix (since 2007)|
|Length:||2.12 mi (3.41 km)|
|Existed:||1992 – 2007|
|South end:||University Drive|
|North end:||Washington Street|
State Route 153, also known as SR 153 and the Sky Harbor Expressway, is a former state highway in Maricopa County, in the U.S. state of Arizona, that ran from the intersection of 44th Street and Washington Street in Phoenix south to University Drive. It was a controlled access arterial expressway, with a speed limit of 45 mph (72 km/h), lower than the standard freeway speed of 65 mph (105 km/h). Route 153 was a north–south route that skirted the eastern edge of Sky Harbor International Airport, and along with SR 143, SR 153 served a portion of East Valley residents with access to the airport. Many motorists used SR 143 (the Hohokam Expressway) instead, because of its quick access to and from Interstate 10 and Loop 202. The freeway did, however, provide a direct link office developments in the Southbank commercial project in east Phoenix with the city of Tempe.
State Route 153's entire length was within Phoenix. It began at University Drive, just west of Route 143. It headed northward as an expressway, passing alongside the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Just a little north of the eastern edge of the airport, Route 153 met its northern terminus Washington Street.
The Sky Harbor Expressway was a part of the 1985 Phoenix Regional Freeway System to add freeways in and around the Phoenix Metropolitan Area and a part of the 2005 Maricopa County Regional Transportation Plan to add new freeways and expand existing ones that were built from the original plan.
The northern section between Sky Harbor Airport and the intersection of 44th Street and Washington Street was formerly Route 143 and had an un-bridged crossing of the Salt River. Reconstruction begin in the early 1990s between Washington Street and the exit to Sky Harbor Airport, and the expanded freeway reopened to traffic in 1992. Traffic heading east out of Sky Harbor had two options: head east to Loop 202 near Priest Drive and downtown Tempe, or head north on the new freeway to Washington Street where drivers had access to the completed stretch of Loop 202 (which ended at Route 143 until 1996) and the recently completed Route 143.
The next section of freeway started construction in 1994 by building a bridge over the Salt River, almost touching the Route 143 at the halfway point and ending at University Drive. This section opened in 1996 and gave drivers another option out of the east exit of Sky Harbor. University Drive has direct access to Route 143, which provides access to I-10 and US 60.
The freeway was planned to be extended further south and west to 40th Street in order to connect to Interstate 10 by the end of 2007, with plans to convert a section of 40th Street to a limited access corridor. An at-grade intersection with Superior Avenue was planned, as well as an overpass of University Drive. However, those plans were on hold for quite some time and were eventually scrapped, as it was determined that the road was no longer needed.
Transfer to Phoenix
Because the road was an ADOT highway, the road had to be deleted off the Maricopa Association of Governments' Regional Transportation Plan and ADOT's maintenance log. It was transferred to the city of Phoenix by the MAG in August 2007 and the Arizona Department of Transportation in October 2007. Route 153 was deleted from the regional transportation plan in August 2007.
Extremely low traffic volumes, especially in comparison to the nearby Route 143, enhanced the MAG's decision. The MAG concluded that Route 153 was considered redundant from the start, as Route 143 runs completely parallel and provides access to all major freeways in the vicinity.
The city of Phoenix has now taken over maintenance and right of way of the Sky Harbor Expressway for the first segment (construction complete in 2013) of the PHX Sky Train.
In April 2008 any reference to Route 153 (reassurance and junction signs) on the Sky Harbor Expressway, University Drive, and Washington Street have all been removed. In late June 2008, the Sky Harbor Expressway name was dropped, and all signs and references to the former state route were changed to "To 44th St." ADOT signage still exists along the entire stretch, except for exit numbers, mileposts, and reassurance signs.
While SR 143 has peak hour traffic issues, it is still adequately handling most of the Sky Harbor Airport traffic that comes from the East Valley off Interstate 10 and US 60, thus proving that Route 153 had always been consistently under-utilized.
As of Aug 2011, work is underway to widen SR 143 between the junction of I-10 and Sky Harbor Airport with new and expanded flyover ramps at the junction with I-10.
|mi||km||Old exit||New exit||Destinations||Notes|
|I-10 (Maricopa Freeway)||Was to have been southern terminus; would have continued south as 40th Street|
|Superior Avenue||At-grade intersection; was to have been end of freeway section|
|0.00||0.00||1||–||University Drive to I-10 / SR 143||At-grade intersection; was to have become an interchange|
|1.17||1.88||Bridge over the Salt River|
|2.50||4.02||2A||–||Sky Harbor International Airport||Formerly signed as exit 2 southbound|
|2.93||4.72||2B||–||Air Lane||Closed in 2007; northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|3.50||5.63||–||–||Washington Street||At-grade intersection; northern terminus; continued north as 44th Street|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- "2006 State Highway System Log" (PDF). Arizona Department of Transportation. October 17, 2007. pp. 477–478. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
- "Arizona @ AARoads - Sky Harbor Expressway (Decommissioned)". Aaroads.com. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
- Arizona Department of Transportation (2007-10-19). "Resolution of Abandonment - State Route 153" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-04-15.
- "May 2007 Regional Council Activity Report". Maricopa Association of Governments.