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Arizona 87 - Beeline Highway

Arizona 87 is a long road that has been extended numerous times. The road begins at Interstate 10 in Picacho, and travels north through Coolidge to parallel Interstate 10 into Chandler.

Between Chandler and Mesa, the route is Arizona Avenue/Country Club Drive, which is now maintained by the cities of Chandler and Mesa within their boundaries.

North of Loop 202, the road becomes the Beeline Highway, so named because it makes a "Beeline" for the high country of Payson. North of Payson, the road continues to Winslow, then enters the Navajo Nation and Hopi Indian Reservation to end at Arizona 264 and Second Mesa.

Arizona 87 was designated in 1927 between Arizona 84 and Chandler, and retained the same route until 1959, when the Beeline highway was designated to Payson and Strawberry. Arizona 87 was then extended in 1968 to Second Mesa, incorporating former Arizona 65.

Perspective from Northbound Arizona 87
North of Loop 202, Arizona 87 meets Gilbert Road. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Distance sign to Ft. McDowell Junction (9 miles), Saguaro Lake Junction (21 miles) and Payson (70 miles). Arizona 87 is on Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community land here. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona 87 crosses the Arizona Canal here. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Just after crossing the Arizona Canal, Arizona 87 crosses the Central Arizona Project canal. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Advance signage for Shea Blvd, 1/2 mile. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Turn left on Shea Blvd to reach McDowell Mountain regional park. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Turn left to reach Scottsdale and Fountain Hills, or continue ahead to reach Payson. Photo taken 03/29/08.

Arizona 87 is named the Duthie-Martin Highway between Shea Blvd and Payson. The road was renamed in 1996 after fallen officers Gib Duthie and Robert Martin, who both lost their lives while working on the highway. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Advance signage for Ft. McDowell Road, 1/2 mile. Arizona 87 is now in the Ft. McDowell Indian Reservation. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Distance sign for Saguaro Lake Junction (8 miles), Payson (61 miles) and Winslow (150 miles). Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona 87 leaves the Ft. McDowell Indian Reservation and enters the Tonto National Forest here. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona 87 meets the Bush Highway here. The Bush Highway is the road to Saguaro Lake, and for many years, this was a simple intersection. Due to the high number of accidents, ADOT converted this to a grade separated interchange during 2008, and the construction is seen here. Photo taken 03/29/08.
At the time of these photos, Arizona 87 was undergoing a shoulder widening project. The northbound lanes are the original highway, and the southbound lanes were added in widening projects. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Turn left for Sugarloaf Mtn and Sycamore Creek, or turn right to reach the Four Peaks Trailhead. Arizona 87 is now in the Tonto National Forest. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona 87 drops into Mesquite Wash after this low hill. Photos taken 03/29/08.
Reassurance marker for Arizona 87. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Distance sign to Sunflower (9 miles) and Payson (43 miles). Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona 87 crosses through an unnamed wash and descends into Sycamore Creek Canyon. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona 87 has a short wrong-way crossover section. This bridge marks the beginning of the section, where the southbound lanes are on the east side of the road. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Black Mesa is directly ahead of Arizona 87 as it winds northward. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona 87 nothbound follows the original roadway, with significantly more curves than the newer southbound roadway. Photo taken 03/29/08.
This section of highway was converted to a four lane highway in 1995. Photo taken 03/29/08.
This bridge marks the end of the wrong-way section of Arizona 87. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona 87 does a wide sweeping descent to Sunflower here. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona 87 crosses Sycamore Creek here. This marks the end of the 1996 widening project and the beginning of the 2003 realignment. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Turn right for the Bushnell Tanks. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Distance sign to Arizona 188 (19 miles), Rye (24 miles) and Payson (34 miles). Photo taken 03/29/08.
On March 21, 2008, Arizona 87 southbound suffered a landslide that caused the closure of the entire roadway for a week. These photos were taken shortly after the roadway reopened, when traffic was restricted to one lane each direction using the northbound lanes. Photo taken 03/29/08.
This section of Arizona 87 was rebuilt in 2003 to the present-day alignment as a four lane road to replace the original Arizona 87. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Turn left for the road down to Sycamore Creek and the original Beeline Highway, or turn right for Mt. Ord. Photo taken 03/29/08.
The saddle west of Mt. Ord is a high point along the 2003 road, at an elevation of 4565 feet. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona 87 begins a descent down to Slate Creek ahead. This section of the road goes through the Cottonwood Basin, where the landslide happened in 2008. Photo taken 03/29/08.
It is a wild 7% grade down to the botton of Slate Creek canyon. Photo taken 03/29/08.
The roadcuts made during construction of the 2003 highway are quite impressive, but somewhat unstable. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Now at the bottom of the grade, Arizona 87 is back down to the 3400 foot level in Slate Creek Canyon. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Distance sign to Rye (13 miles), Payson (24 miles) and Winslow (113 miles). Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona 87 winds around the side of Pine Butte. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona 87 descends into Gold Creek Canyon on its way to Arizona 188. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Advance signage for Arizona 188, 1/2 mile. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Turn right on Arizona 188 to reach Roosevelt Lake. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Turn right for Roosevelt and Globe, or continue ahead for Payson. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona 188 departs from Arizona 87 here for Roosevelt Dam and Globe. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Distance sign to Rye (5 miles), Payson (17 miles) and Winslow (107 miles). Photo taken 03/29/08.
Turn left for the Barnhardt Trailhead. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Advance signage for the town of Gisela, 1/4 mile. Photo taken 03/29/08.
The final grade to Payson is quite steep, and travellers are advised to turn off their air conditioners on the grade. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Continue ahead on Arizona 87 to Payson. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona 87 climbs a ridgeline between Hog Canyon and Sycamore Canyon northbound. This section was built rather early compared to the rest of the four lane highway, and features a wide separation between the northbound and southbound lanes. Photos taken 03/29/08.
Reassurance marker for Arizona 87. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona 87 enters the town of Payson here. Payson is a popular summertime getaway for Phoenix residents, and features numerous traveller services. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Turn left for Green Valley Park, the Zane Grey Cabin and local museums. Arizona 87 is the main street through Payson. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Advance signage for Arizona 260, 1/2 mile. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Use the right lane for Arizona 260 eastbound to Show Low and Holbrook. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Continue ahead on Arizona 87 northbound and Arizona 260 westbound to Winslow and Cottonwood, or turn right on Arizona 260 to Show Low and Holbrook. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona 260 eastbound separates from Arizona 87 northbound here. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona 87 south
Southbound Arizona 87/Country Club Drive approaching Junction U.S. 60 (Superstition Freeway) in Mesa. This is a major commuter access point to the often-busy Superstition Freeway. Photo taken 03/02/03.
Southbound Arizona 87/Country Club Drive at Junction U.S. 60 (Superstition Freeway) in Mesa. Arizona 87 continues as a through route to Chandler and Coolidge south of the metropolitan area. It ends at Interstate 10 near Eloy. Photo taken 03/02/03.

Photo Credits:
    2003-03-02 by AARoads. 2008-03-29 by Kevin Trinkle.

Connect with:
Interstate 10
Interstate 40
U.S. Highway 60
Arizona Loop 202
Arizona 188
Arizona 260
Arizona 99

Page Updated 02-25-2009.

 
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