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Author Topic: AZ 89A/Old US 89A  (Read 3306 times)

Max Rockatansky

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AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« on: April 01, 2020, 07:39:47 PM »

I've been wanting to get to AZ 89A/US 89A for a long time in the 2016 Fall Mountain Series since it was one of my favorite highways when I lived in Arizona.  AZ 89A mostly consists of highway which made up former US 89A.  AZ 89A between Prescott and Jerome has origins as a state road that was built in 1883 to service the mines around Jerome.  AZ 89A entered the State Highway System originally as AZ 89 when US 280 ran through Prescott.  AZ 89 became AZ 79 when US 89 was extended south of Flagstaff but it would seem that the intention was from the outset to get US 89 through Jerome.  The rest of AZ 79 was built through Oak Creek Canyon through the 1930s and eventually was assigned US 89A in 1941.  US 89A stuck around until 1993 when US 89 was truncated back to Flagstaff.  AZ 89A has two scenic segments in the form of the Mingus Mountain Scenic Road and Sedona-Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Road along with a signed Historic US 89A.  My personal favorite segment of AZ 89A is over Mingus Mountain to Jerome but the highway is just as well known for Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon:

https://www.gribblenation.org/2020/04/2016-fall-mountain-trip-part-24-arizona.html
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kwellada

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2020, 02:15:04 PM »

I went to college in Flagstaff and lived there for a couple years afterwards.  I can't even count how many times I hopped into my car and drove down 89A to Sedona or beyond.  One of the best drives in Arizona (if traffic is light).  It probably is why I still like to seek out curvy mountain roads on my various roadtrip adventures.
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US 89

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2020, 03:17:15 PM »

The last time I was on 89A, I was heading back to Utah from Sedona and it had just snowed the day before. The road had been plowed by then but it was absolutely fascinating to see Oak Creek Canyon covered in snow.

Max Rockatansky

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2020, 04:45:05 PM »

The last time I was on 89A, I was heading back to Utah from Sedona and it had just snowed the day before. The road had been plowed by then but it was absolutely fascinating to see Oak Creek Canyon covered in snow.

Back in December of 2011 I drove through Oak Creek Canyon in a snow storm at about 10 PM at night.  I was tired because I was dragging my boss all over Mohave Country touring work locales all day.  I didnít want to back track up AZ 179 to the hotel in Sedona so I went for it on 89A.  Given he was from Texas that ended up being the ride from hell for him since I donít think I ever dropped below 30 MPH on that descent.  It was one of the few times I went through Oak Creeak Canyon with no traffic. 
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Konza

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2020, 06:38:22 PM »

I think I've driven from Sedona to Flagstaff on 89A twice.  The first time was at night, and the road had just been resurfaced but the lane markings had not been reapplied.  Interesting drive to say the least.

The second time was on Christmas Eve in 2016.  I left Sedona at about 4 PM; it was raining there.  At about 5000 feet elevation, the rain turned to snow, and it snowed all the way into Flagstaff.  They got a foot that night.  I'm a midwesterner, and I had a front wheel drive rental car, so I didn't have much of an issue getting to Flagstaff, but the word was that I-17 was quite the mess with people who were far from accustomed to driving in those conditions.

Hoping to make the drive in good conditions sooner than later.
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kwellada

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2020, 11:22:39 AM »

That reminds me a story from my days in Flagstaff.  My roommate worked in Sedona during the weekends and had an old rear wheel drive Ford car.  It was starting to snow pretty hard when I got a call that she was having troubles coming up the canyon.  I had a 4x4 GMC at  the time (and having grown up in the Colorado mountains, I was very comfortable with snowy conditions) so I headed down the canyon to find her basically unable to make a curve.  If I remember right, I very carefully put my bumper on hers and got her moving away from the spinout area, which was enough momentum to get her going again. 

It's beautiful in the snow but it doesn't take much to make the roads impassable.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2022, 01:06:49 PM »

A construction project set to begin soon will reconstruct the Pumphouse Wash Bridge among other various improvements:

https://azdot.gov/projects/northcentral-district-projects/sr-89a-oak-creek-canyon-improvements
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ClassicHasClass

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2022, 07:54:40 PM »

That reminds me a story from my days in Flagstaff.  My roommate worked in Sedona during the weekends and had an old rear wheel drive Ford car.  It was starting to snow pretty hard when I got a call that she was having troubles coming up the canyon.  I had a 4x4 GMC at  the time (and having grown up in the Colorado mountains, I was very comfortable with snowy conditions) so I headed down the canyon to find her basically unable to make a curve.  If I remember right, I very carefully put my bumper on hers and got her moving away from the spinout area, which was enough momentum to get her going again. 

It's beautiful in the snow but it doesn't take much to make the roads impassable.

We got stuck in Flagstaff one Thanksgiving when there was a blizzard. I-40 was closed in both directions. I (in high school) had a great time, but my parents were going nuts.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2022, 08:03:42 PM »

That reminds me a story from my days in Flagstaff.  My roommate worked in Sedona during the weekends and had an old rear wheel drive Ford car.  It was starting to snow pretty hard when I got a call that she was having troubles coming up the canyon.  I had a 4x4 GMC at  the time (and having grown up in the Colorado mountains, I was very comfortable with snowy conditions) so I headed down the canyon to find her basically unable to make a curve.  If I remember right, I very carefully put my bumper on hers and got her moving away from the spinout area, which was enough momentum to get her going again. 

It's beautiful in the snow but it doesn't take much to make the roads impassable.

We got stuck in Flagstaff one Thanksgiving when there was a blizzard. I-40 was closed in both directions. I (in high school) had a great time, but my parents were going nuts.

Same happened to me in Show Low for three days on a work trip.  I had a great time, I bought food at Safeway and basically drank beer almost the entire time while the storm was rolling through.  Having my snow shoes in my trunk sure made getting across US 60 a whole hell of a lot easier.  The entire Mogollon Rim area gets some nasty snow storms that can last surprisingly long in the winter. 
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ozarkman417

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2022, 08:05:21 PM »

The linked article in the OP mentions how Sedona was roundabout hell. AZ 89A in Cottonwood isn't much better, nor is AZ 260 all the way to I-17. Given MoDOT's roundabout construction spree back at home it's something I've become accustomed to.

I stayed at an AirBNB in the Page Springs area (I was in the Sedona/Cottonwood/Jerome area about a week ago on Spring Break). The host, a recent transplant from England, recommended I take Mingus Rd into Cottonwood. From there, I followed historic US 89A to Jerome to have lunch. For such a small town it sure is crowded, most restaurants had waits of over an hour around lunch time. On the way, in Clarkdale, I noticed a small error in the signage. The US 89A shield fails to denote its historic status, thus making it incorrect because it does not lead to US 89A, which is in northern Coconino County.

To make matters a little more interesting, its the signage that replaced this faded AZ 89A shield (photo from article in OP):
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2022, 08:09:14 PM »

Thatís strange they went with normal US Route 89A shields.  Is there anything at the beginning of the old Clarkdale alignment to indicate it is a historic route still?  At the time I started this thread I donít think the roundabouts on AZ 260 between Cottonwood and Camp Verde Junction existed yet?
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2022, 10:11:37 PM »

That reminds me a story from my days in Flagstaff.  My roommate worked in Sedona during the weekends and had an old rear wheel drive Ford car.  It was starting to snow pretty hard when I got a call that she was having troubles coming up the canyon.  I had a 4x4 GMC at  the time (and having grown up in the Colorado mountains, I was very comfortable with snowy conditions) so I headed down the canyon to find her basically unable to make a curve.  If I remember right, I very carefully put my bumper on hers and got her moving away from the spinout area, which was enough momentum to get her going again. 

It's beautiful in the snow but it doesn't take much to make the roads impassable.

We got stuck in Flagstaff one Thanksgiving when there was a blizzard. I-40 was closed in both directions. I (in high school) had a great time, but my parents were going nuts.

Same happened to me in Show Low for three days on a work trip.  I had a great time, I bought food at Safeway and basically drank beer almost the entire time while the storm was rolling through.  Having my snow shoes in my trunk sure made getting across US 60 a whole hell of a lot easier.  The entire Mogollon Rim area gets some nasty snow storms that can last surprisingly long in the winter.
If I can find a hotel room and I have a nice lady friend with me beer or wine and being stranded in a town due to snow is never a bad time. Order some good food and kick back. Iíve had that happen a couple times. Once in mammoth just because I didnít want to risk getting stuck in my Prius but I think they ended up shutting 395 down anyways. I got stuck on I-40 around Tucumcari once and all hotels were booked but I couldnít even make it off the highway. By the next day my gas was extremely low and it was not a fun experience.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2022, 10:15:21 PM »

That reminds me a story from my days in Flagstaff.  My roommate worked in Sedona during the weekends and had an old rear wheel drive Ford car.  It was starting to snow pretty hard when I got a call that she was having troubles coming up the canyon.  I had a 4x4 GMC at  the time (and having grown up in the Colorado mountains, I was very comfortable with snowy conditions) so I headed down the canyon to find her basically unable to make a curve.  If I remember right, I very carefully put my bumper on hers and got her moving away from the spinout area, which was enough momentum to get her going again. 

It's beautiful in the snow but it doesn't take much to make the roads impassable.

We got stuck in Flagstaff one Thanksgiving when there was a blizzard. I-40 was closed in both directions. I (in high school) had a great time, but my parents were going nuts.

Same happened to me in Show Low for three days on a work trip.  I had a great time, I bought food at Safeway and basically drank beer almost the entire time while the storm was rolling through.  Having my snow shoes in my trunk sure made getting across US 60 a whole hell of a lot easier.  The entire Mogollon Rim area gets some nasty snow storms that can last surprisingly long in the winter.
If I can find a hotel room and I have a nice lady friend with me beer or wine and being stranded in a town due to snow is never a bad time. Order some good food and kick back. Iíve had that happen a couple times. Once in mammoth just because I didnít want to risk getting stuck in my Prius but I think they ended up shutting 395 down anyways. I got stuck on I-40 around Tucumcari once and all hotels were booked but I couldnít even make it off the highway. By the next day my gas was extremely low and it was not a fun experience.

In my case being away from my nice lady friend for a couple days (this was pre-non work cell phone) was especially nice.  The peace and quiet was something that I really enjoyed at the time, even better that it was on company tab.  At the time I was getting pressure to relocate to Michigan and we had a giant argument about it right before the Show Low work trip. 
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Rothman

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2022, 11:58:13 PM »

She's not my special lady...
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2022, 09:35:55 AM »

^^^

In my case, no she wasnít.  The real irony to that story is that before the Michigan talk came up she wanted me to take my relocation offer to Mission Valley in San Diego.  I was living in Phoenix at the time but I worked in the entire Southern California market (commuting mostly by car and mileage reimbursement).  I found the notion of living either around Los Angeles or San Diego loathsome, so I didnít take my transfer offer.  Come 2016 I did end up taking a transfer offer, but to Central California (from Orlando and a three year stint in Florida) instead.  I wasnít exactly on poor speaking terms with the party above, suffice to say she was surprised that I eventually ended up in California anyways.  I guess she missed the part about how unlivable cost-wise Southern California was/is. 

Amusingly, despite the cost of gas and state taxes Iíve found Fresno to be way more affordable than Orlando was.  I do miss places like Flagstaff and Show Low, both are a short list of places Iíd consider retiring at. 
« Last Edit: March 23, 2022, 09:42:27 AM by Max Rockatansky »
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2022, 05:25:28 PM »

I think US 89 should have been truncated to Interstate 10 in Tucson, or truncated to US 60 in Wickenburg in 1992, not truncated to Business 40/US 180 in Flagstaff. That way, AZ 89A could still be US 89A. If US 89 absolutely had to be decommissioned along Interstate 40 between Ash Fork and Flagstaff, then US/AZ 89A could have become mainline 89, and the rest of old 89 between Prescott and Ash Fork could have gotten a different designation. On a related note, I think US 180 should end in Holbrook, and not continue northwest of Flagstaff.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2022, 05:27:47 PM »

I think US 89 should have been truncated to Interstate 10 in Tucson, or truncated to US 60 in Wickenburg in 1992, not truncated to Business 40/US 180 in Flagstaff. That way, AZ 89A could still be US 89A. If US 89 absolutely had to be decommissioned along Interstate 40 between Ash Fork and Flagstaff, then US/AZ 89A could have become mainline 89, and the rest of old 89 between Prescott and Ash Fork could have gotten a different designation. On a related note, I think US 180 should end in Holbrook, and not continue northwest of Flagstaff.

What I donít get is how AZ 89 and AZ 89A are not supposed function as part of US 89?  The gap between US 89 and AZ 89A in Flagstaff is tiny.  AZ 89 functions as an alternate freight corridor if I-17 is having issues.  Even routing US 89 onto AZ 87 from Winslow would have had a ton of viability. 
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pderocco

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2022, 12:24:38 AM »

I stayed at an AirBNB in the Page Springs area (I was in the Sedona/Cottonwood/Jerome area about a week ago on Spring Break). The host, a recent transplant from England, recommended I take Mingus Rd into Cottonwood. From there, I followed historic US 89A to Jerome to have lunch. For such a small town it sure is crowded, most restaurants had waits of over an hour around lunch time. On the way, in Clarkdale, I noticed a small error in the signage. The US 89A shield fails to denote its historic status, thus making it incorrect because it does not lead to US 89A, which is in northern Coconino County.

Well, if you stay on it long enough, you do get to US-89A eventually.
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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2022, 12:35:01 PM »

I think US 89 should have been truncated to Interstate 10 in Tucson, or truncated to US 60 in Wickenburg in 1992, not truncated to Business 40/US 180 in Flagstaff. That way, AZ 89A could still be US 89A. If US 89 absolutely had to be decommissioned along Interstate 40 between Ash Fork and Flagstaff, then US/AZ 89A could have become mainline 89, and the rest of old 89 between Prescott and Ash Fork could have gotten a different designation. On a related note, I think US 180 should end in Holbrook, and not continue northwest of Flagstaff.

What I don’t get is how AZ 89 and AZ 89A are not supposed function as part of US 89?  The gap between US 89 and AZ 89A in Flagstaff is tiny.  AZ 89 functions as an alternate freight corridor if I-17 is having issues.  Even routing US 89 onto AZ 87 from Winslow would have had a ton of viability. 

It does make one wonder why, back in the early 1990s when truncating US 89 happened, AZ 89 wasn't renumbered to, say, AZ 59. Or, why AZ 89A wasn't renumbered (at least from I-17 to Prescott) to, say, AZ 49. Bear in mind, the portion of US 89 from AZ 77 to US 60 was renumbered AZ 79 when this was happening.

Then again, one can also ask why Grand Ave in Peoria/Glendale/Phoenix is still signed as US 60, as opposed to either US 93 or turned over to those cities between Loop 101 and I-17. BTW, AZ 89 is NOT a good alternate truck route to I-17, especially when thru trucks are essentially banned past downtown Prescott and there is only a local street connector between SB AZ 89 and EB AZ 69.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2022, 12:41:10 PM by brad2971 »
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pderocco

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2022, 01:14:04 AM »

BTW, AZ 89 is NOT a good alternate truck route to I-17, especially when thru trucks are essentially banned past downtown Prescott and there is only a local street connector between SB AZ 89 and EB AZ 69.

True,but AZ-89 to AZ-69 would be a reasonable choice if somehow I-17 were closed.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2022, 09:20:48 AM »

BTW, AZ 89 is NOT a good alternate truck route to I-17, especially when thru trucks are essentially banned past downtown Prescott and there is only a local street connector between SB AZ 89 and EB AZ 69.

True,but AZ-89 to AZ-69 would be a reasonable choice if somehow I-17 were closed.

Which is what I was referring to.  I-17 tends to have a huge bottleneck when it stops due to there not being really many nearby alternates, especially for trucks. 
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M3100

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2022, 04:03:37 PM »

A construction project set to begin soon will reconstruct the Pumphouse Wash Bridge among other various improvements:

https://azdot.gov/projects/northcentral-district-projects/sr-89a-oak-creek-canyon-improvements

There was a brief article about this in USA Today recently (though they referred to it as US Route 89A; maybe some online map templates still use that designation).  From what I can tell from the link you posted, most of the construction work will be between Sedona and Flagstaff, though a separate item also noted continuing construction work on the AZ 89A - 179 roundabout junction.
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edwaleni

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Re: AZ 89A/Old US 89A
« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2022, 10:53:23 AM »

When going to Oak Creek Canyon from Flagstaff in 1968 we traversed the 89A.

My two uncles were pulling campers with their big V8 Cadillac's and had long range fuel tanks installed in the 2 back quarter panels inside the trunk.

We all thought it was a modern miracle when he had these lights installed on his dash to let him know which tank was active.

Since pulling a long camper down 89A was not a lot of fun back then, we went first so as to provide cover for my uncles and if there was a rock fall, an accident (there was always an accident on that road) or a wipe out of some kind, we could provide an earlier warning so they could brake in time.

My great-grandfather owned a large ranch in Oak Creek Canyon at one time. My great aunt was the *only* postmaster in Clemenceau, AZ (she opened it and they closed it when she retired) and it still stands in what is now Cottonwood. ( I think its a museum now in "old" Cottonwood) My great-uncle was a prospector. We used to go over and cut open rocks on his rock saw. Every so often he came across some rare earths and made some money, then go back to prospecting. He mostly sold rocks top the tourist shops in Sedona.

No one was looking forward to driving back to Flagstaff when the time came. Downhill is one thing, but up hill was impossible because all it took was one under-powered car and and their trailer and back ups were common.  Everyone was dying for the next gravel pull off so the slow guy could let people by. We passed two cars that had over heated and were blowing steam everywhere.

If memory serves, I-17 was only done to Cordes Junction by 1968. 
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