Arizona State Route 79
|Pinal Pioneer Parkway|
|Maintained by ADOT|
|Length:||58.40 mi (93.99 km)|
|Existed:||1992 – present|
|South end:||SR 77|
|North end:||US 60|
SR 79 has a northern terminus at U.S. Route 60 in unincorporated Florence Junction and passes through the town of Florence, its southern terminus is four miles (6 km) north of Catalina, at State Route 77, 25 miles (40 km) north of Tucson. The entirety of SR 79 is a direct surface route, roughly paralleling Interstate 10, (actually a north–south segment of the normally east–west freeway) and serving as the major route to Florence (which has no Interstate access), but the town of Florence is easily accessible from State Route 287, State Route 87, and Hunt Highway. It serves as the back-road to the Phoenix and Tucson Metropolitan Areas and control cities along this route show either Phoenix or Tucson.
The southern portion of SR 79 from Oracle Junction to just south of Florence is designated Pinal Pioneer Parkway, a scenic road of the high desert plain with views of the Santa Catalina and Tortilla Mountains. The 41-mile stretch of road was so designated by the Arizona Highways Department in 1961.
Also along this road is a memorial marker for Tom Mix, who died after his Cord 812 convertible crashed into what is now designated the Tom Mix Wash while bridge construction was incomplete. The single-car high-speed accident led to his death after leaving the Oracle Junction Inn in 1940.
SR 79 services the Florence Military Reservation which is a couple of miles north of Florence and the State, County, Private built or Federal Prisons in Florence.
It is a scenic and historic road between the metropolitan cities of Phoenix and Tucson if I-10 is closed due to an accident, weather or construction.
According to INRIX, a traffic-monitoring agency, as of 2011 Arizona State Route 79 was the fastest road in the nation, with the fastest 5% of the vehicles using it clocked at an average speed of 88 miles per hour.
The original SR 79 was designated in 1924 as part of the original state highways from Prescott to Jerome. By 1926, it extended northeast to Flagstaff. In 1941, this was redesignated as U.S. Route 89A. It was redesignated as a newly proposed route from Sedona to SR 69. In 1955, it was rerouted to US 89A south of Flagstaff, with the old route to Sedona being SR 79T. In 1960, SR 79's new routing was complete, and the old route was renumbered SR 179. SR 79 was extended north to US 66 in 1964. In August 1992, this route was cancelled, and the current SR 79 was assigned, as the old SR 79 became part of Interstate 17, causing the cancellation of US 89 south of Flagstaff, with one section renumbered to the current SR 79. On the afternoon of October 12, 1940, silent film actor Tom Mix died in a car accident on SR 79 (then part of U.S. Route 80) 18.5 miles southeast of Florence, Arizona.
The entire route is in Pinal County.
|||0.00||0.00||SR 77 – Globe, Oro Valley, Tucson||Southern terminus|
SR 79 Bus. north to SR 287 – Coolidge
SR 79 Bus. south / SR 287 west (Butte Ave)
|Eastern terminus of SR 287|
|Florence Junction||58.40||93.99||US 60 – Phoenix, Globe||Interchange; northern terminus; exit 212 on US 60|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
SR 79 Business
|Length:||2.05 mi (3.30 km)|
The road begins south of town at its parent State Route 79 near the Central Arizona Project canal and travels northbound on Main St passing a "Y" junction with State Route 287 to Coolidge. The road continues northbound to an intersection with Butte Ave, at a traffic light, where the highway turns east and passes the Pinal County Governmental Complex, it terminates at the junction with State Route 79 at the intersection of Butte Ave. and Pinal Parkway Avenue. It is the only state business loop in the state of Arizona. The junction with SR 287 and 79 is scheduled to be upgraded to a roundabout intersection. The current intersection has safety issues, including 8 driveways/entrance/exit points combining at different angles.
The business loop gives access to the historic downtown and business district in Florence, passing by the Pinal County Government Complex, Pinal County Historical Museum and 1891 Pinal County Courthouse.
Route map: Google
- Arizona Department of Transportation. "2008 ADOT Highway Log" (PDF). Retrieved April 9, 2008.
- "USA Today--Here are the five fastest highways in the US"
- "Mix Funeral to be Held in Hollywood". The New London Evening Day. October 14, 1940. Retrieved June 2, 2012.