How to get around in Phoenix

Posted on November 23, 2009



The following is a brief explanation of the various freeway systems that can be found when driving around in the Phoenix Metropolitan area. This in intended for any visitor from out of town, truck driver, or newly licensed adolescent driver trying to find their way about town.

The first thing to keep in mind is that the Maricopa Freeway, Papago freeway and the I-10 are the same stretch of freeway. When your driving westbound on it, you are actually driving northbound, and when your driving eastbound on it you are actually driving southbound.

SR202 is the Red Mountain freeway and runs east then south until it becomes the San Tan freeway at the US 60 with runs east and west and northwest and is split into two sections.

US 60, also known as “Grand Ave” and the “Superstition Freeway”, runs Northwest bound from 7th av and Van Buren and goes on forever. Grand and Superstition do not meet whatsoever but are both called US 60.

The I-17, also known as the “Black Canyon Freeway” and the “Veterans Memorial Highway” is under a perpetual state of construction and runs north and south. Except at the Durango curve in which it runs east and west for a brief stretch of a about 2 miles, during which you are required by law to call it the “Maricopa Freeway” (Not to be confused with the I10 section of the Maricopa Freeway, lest you be flogged).

Perpendicular of the I17 is the US 74, or the “Carefree Highway” which is really a road that just really wants to be a highway when it grows up.

The Loop 303, AKA the “Bob Stump Memorial Highway” is actually not a loop at all, as it only connects I17 and I10 together. So, it should really be called a “line” or a “sort of half circle”.

SR 101 runs East, West, North and South. At the point where it goes west from the I-17 (Black Canyon / Veteran’s memorial highway) it is called the Agua Fria Freeway. East of the I-17 it is called the Pima freeway, which turns into the Price Freeway after it hits the US 60, or Superstition Freeway, where ends into a merge at the SR202 San Tan freeway, not the SR202 Red Mountain freeway.

The westbound merge onto San Tan freeway eventually turns into the Pecos freeway which is also known as Pecos road and / or the South Mountain freeway which doesn’t exist.

The SR143 is the Hohokom, but it’s also 48th street. The SR 153 is the Sky Harbor Expressway, which is now called 44th street, is a useless piece of road that connects University road to the Airport.

Thunderbird road becomes Cactus road, but Cactus road doesn’t become Thunderbird road because it dead ends at a mountain.

Dunlap and Olive are the same street. Jefferson becomes Washington, but they are not the same street.

Stapley is Cooper.

Mesa Dr is McQueen

and Chandler Blvd is Williams Field Road.

I hope this clears up any confusion about our freeway systems here in the Valley of the Sun.

Thank you.

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