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Author Topic: AZ 89/Old US 89  (Read 1548 times)

Max Rockatansky

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AZ 89/Old US 89
« on: January 05, 2019, 02:47:03 PM »

In the early 2000s the route of Old US 89 along Arizona State Route 89 was often one of my more common mountain drives when I was living in Arizona.  In particular I used to drive the segment of AZ 89 from AZ 69 south over Yarnell Hill to US 93 frequently.  I had some old photos from 2012 one year before the Yarnell Hill Fire that I put together into a small blog.  I intended to make this a "Throwback Thursday" but figured the Yarnell Hill alignment of US 89 was interesting enough to feature now:

https://surewhynotnow.blogspot.com/2019/01/throwback-thursday-old-us-route-89.html
« Last Edit: January 16, 2019, 08:45:19 AM by andy3175 »
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US 89

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2019, 03:05:00 PM »

I've said this in the past, but I've never liked that US 89 was truncated all the way to Flagstaff. It should have remained intact at least down to the US 60 junction at Wickenburg, but I would have even kept it all the way down to Tucson. AZ 79 and 77 make a decent alternative to I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix. Per Google maps, the 77-79-60 route actually takes about the same time as I-10 if there's any congestion or accidents on 10.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2019, 03:42:38 PM »

I've said this in the past, but I've never liked that US 89 was truncated all the way to Flagstaff. It should have remained intact at least down to the US 60 junction at Wickenburg, but I would have even kept it all the way down to Tucson. AZ 79 and 77 make a decent alternative to I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix. Per Google maps, the 77-79-60 route actually takes about the same time as I-10 if there's any congestion or accidents on 10.

I agree, plus it would be nice to have a community as large as Prescott on a US Route.  When I-10 had a 200 vehicle pileup at the start of the decade I actually used the old route of US 80/89 to get a couple people I had in a work party home from Green Valley.  The old highway is a perfectly suitable alternate to I-10, I really don't understand what sense it made to truncate US 89 to US 180 in Flagstaff. 

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2019, 04:19:11 PM »

Even the Flagstaff terminus as it is today is confusing. From what I can tell, the actual south end of 89 is at the intersection of BL-40/US-89 and Country Club Drive, where the "END 89" sign is posted.

However, there's an argument to be made that it's at the intersection of BL-40 and Historic 66, based on these shields and the street blade -- Google seems to believe this argument, putting 89 shields on BL-40 between the Historic 66 and Country Club intersections.

On the other hand, there is also a bunch of signage on I-40 that indicates 89 begins at exit 201 and runs north on Country Club Drive.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2019, 04:30:20 PM »

Even the Flagstaff terminus as it is today is confusing. From what I can tell, the actual south end of 89 is at the intersection of BL-40/US-89 and Country Club Drive, where the "END 89" sign is posted.

However, there's an argument to be made that it's at the intersection of BL-40 and Historic 66, based on these shields and the street blade -- Google seems to believe this argument, putting 89 shields on BL-40 between the Historic 66 and Country Club intersections.

On the other hand, there is also a bunch of signage on I-40 that indicates 89 begins at exit 201 and runs north on Country Club Drive.

The one thing that makes me think its Country Club Drive is AZDOTs usual strict adherence to a highway not ending in the middle of another.  But to your point, none of those exit ramps say "TO US 89" and imply the highway starts there.

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2019, 11:21:27 AM »

In the early 2000s the route of Old US 89 along Arizona State Route 89 was often one of my more common mountain drives when I was living in Arizona.  In particular I used to drive the segment of AZ 89 from AZ 69 south over Yarnell Hill to US 93 frequently.  I had some old photos from 2012 one year before the Yarnell Hill Fire that I put together into a small blog.  I intended to make this a "Throwback Thursday" but figured the Yarnell Hill alignment of US 89 was interesting enough to feature now:

https://surewhynotnow.blogspot.com/2019/01/throwback-thursday-old-us-route-89.html

I lived in Yarnell the last two years I was in high school as well as one summer between my first & second years of college.  That was still back in the US89 days.  I also got my drivers license right before my junior year and drove a very large Chevy pickup to school every day down Yarnell Hill.  Later when I owned a mountain bike, I'd coast down the hill, then ride all the way back up because, well, I was 19 and had absolutely nothing better to do that summer.  My love of driving curvy mountain roads no doubt is due to US89. 

The Yarnell Hill fire was horrifying.  I used to climb around in those rocks on that hillside and knew instantly how difficult of a situation those firefighters faced that day.  In 2015 I drove through the area and decided to see if the house my parents owned back then survived.  It amazingly did, but the fire literally had stopped across the street.   
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wanderer2575

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2019, 11:47:59 AM »

As a general comment, I don't understand the point of decommissioning a US route to make it a state route.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2019, 12:38:06 PM »

In the early 2000s the route of Old US 89 along Arizona State Route 89 was often one of my more common mountain drives when I was living in Arizona.  In particular I used to drive the segment of AZ 89 from AZ 69 south over Yarnell Hill to US 93 frequently.  I had some old photos from 2012 one year before the Yarnell Hill Fire that I put together into a small blog.  I intended to make this a "Throwback Thursday" but figured the Yarnell Hill alignment of US 89 was interesting enough to feature now:

https://surewhynotnow.blogspot.com/2019/01/throwback-thursday-old-us-route-89.html

I lived in Yarnell the last two years I was in high school as well as one summer between my first & second years of college.  That was still back in the US89 days.  I also got my drivers license right before my junior year and drove a very large Chevy pickup to school every day down Yarnell Hill.  Later when I owned a mountain bike, I'd coast down the hill, then ride all the way back up because, well, I was 19 and had absolutely nothing better to do that summer.  My love of driving curvy mountain roads no doubt is due to US89. 

The Yarnell Hill fire was horrifying.  I used to climb around in those rocks on that hillside and knew instantly how difficult of a situation those firefighters faced that day.  In 2015 I drove through the area and decided to see if the house my parents owned back then survived.  It amazingly did, but the fire literally had stopped across the street.

It wasn’t too long after the Wallow Fire which was infinitely more massive being the largest fire the state had ever seen.  Despite the size the Wallow Fire didn’t do much beyond just burn a large area of the White Mountains.  It was quite a shock that such a small fire did so much damage. 

dvferyance

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2019, 10:20:57 PM »

I've said this in the past, but I've never liked that US 89 was truncated all the way to Flagstaff. It should have remained intact at least down to the US 60 junction at Wickenburg, but I would have even kept it all the way down to Tucson. AZ 79 and 77 make a decent alternative to I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix. Per Google maps, the 77-79-60 route actually takes about the same time as I-10 if there's any congestion or accidents on 10.
I would have truncated it to Wickenburg from there to Tucson it made sense to downgrade it.
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2019, 04:29:47 PM »

US 89 should have been truncated only to where Tucson's BL-19 terminated, Interstate 10's Exit 261.
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sparker

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2019, 03:51:15 AM »

I've said this in the past, but I've never liked that US 89 was truncated all the way to Flagstaff. It should have remained intact at least down to the US 60 junction at Wickenburg, but I would have even kept it all the way down to Tucson. AZ 79 and 77 make a decent alternative to I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix. Per Google maps, the 77-79-60 route actually takes about the same time as I-10 if there's any congestion or accidents on 10.
I would have truncated it to Wickenburg from there to Tucson it made sense to downgrade it.
US 89 should have been truncated only to where Tucson's BL-19 terminated, Interstate 10's Exit 261.

The truncation effort seems to have been informed by CA's similar efforts back in '64; if anything, AZ had a greater percentage of its US routes' mileage as part of multiplexes than did CA (e.g. 66/89, 60/70/89, with 80 added east of Phoenix, and then 80/89 down to Tucson).  Compounding the issue was the presence of I-17 effectively subsuming US 89's former role as the main through N-S route through the central part of the state; ADOT likely presumed that continuing US 89 south of Flagstaff would be redundant (they're engineers, not historians!).

That being said -- if it were up to me, US 89 would have been rerouted south on the Mormon Lake road (suggested previously on multiple occasions as an addition to the state network) down to AZ 87, then replacing AZ 87 at least as far south as US 60 in Mesa or possibly all the way to I-10 at Eloy. 
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2019, 07:45:02 AM »

I've said this in the past, but I've never liked that US 89 was truncated all the way to Flagstaff. It should have remained intact at least down to the US 60 junction at Wickenburg, but I would have even kept it all the way down to Tucson. AZ 79 and 77 make a decent alternative to I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix. Per Google maps, the 77-79-60 route actually takes about the same time as I-10 if there's any congestion or accidents on 10.
I would have truncated it to Wickenburg from there to Tucson it made sense to downgrade it.
US 89 should have been truncated only to where Tucson's BL-19 terminated, Interstate 10's Exit 261.

The truncation effort seems to have been informed by CA's similar efforts back in '64; if anything, AZ had a greater percentage of its US routes' mileage as part of multiplexes than did CA (e.g. 66/89, 60/70/89, with 80 added east of Phoenix, and then 80/89 down to Tucson).  Compounding the issue was the presence of I-17 effectively subsuming US 89's former role as the main through N-S route through the central part of the state; ADOT likely presumed that continuing US 89 south of Flagstaff would be redundant (they're engineers, not historians!).

That being said -- if it were up to me, US 89 would have been rerouted south on the Mormon Lake road (suggested previously on multiple occasions as an addition to the state network) down to AZ 87, then replacing AZ 87 at least as far south as US 60 in Mesa or possibly all the way to I-10 at Eloy.

Wasn’t Mormon Lake Road supposed to be AZ 487 but it never actually ended up being adopted by ADOT?

Zonie

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2019, 05:36:41 PM »

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Exit58

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2019, 01:18:34 AM »

I would have truncated it to Wickenburg from there to Tucson it made sense to downgrade it.

I see no reason why ADOT doesn't remove AZ 89A and AZ 89 from the system and replace them with US 89 once again. It's an easy signage swap considering ADOT still maintains all the necessary roads and it would get rid of the confusing AZ 89, AZ 89A and US 89 all ending near Flagstaff conundrum. I was staying in Williams with family and had to travel to Flagstaff 3 times over the two days and the first time they told me to 'take Highway 89'. I played a game and asked 'Which 89?' 'What do you mean which 89?' Confusion on their end ensued and I had to explain the differences in State Routes, US Highways, and Interstates all the way to Flagstaff. It was a FUN drive lol.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2019, 07:08:11 AM »

I would have truncated it to Wickenburg from there to Tucson it made sense to downgrade it.

I see no reason why ADOT doesn't remove AZ 89A and AZ 89 from the system and replace them with US 89 once again. It's an easy signage swap considering ADOT still maintains all the necessary roads and it would get rid of the confusing AZ 89, AZ 89A and US 89 all ending near Flagstaff conundrum. I was staying in Williams with family and had to travel to Flagstaff 3 times over the two days and the first time they told me to 'take Highway 89'. I played a game and asked 'Which 89?' 'What do you mean which 89?' Confusion on their end ensued and I had to explain the differences in State Routes, US Highways, and Interstates all the way to Flagstaff. It was a FUN drive lol.

AASHTO buy in on a long multiplex of I-40 or over AZ 89A might be a tough sell on a US Route designation these days. 

Exit58

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2019, 10:07:08 AM »

I would have truncated it to Wickenburg from there to Tucson it made sense to downgrade it.

I see no reason why ADOT doesn't remove AZ 89A and AZ 89 from the system and replace them with US 89 once again. It's an easy signage swap considering ADOT still maintains all the necessary roads and it would get rid of the confusing AZ 89, AZ 89A and US 89 all ending near Flagstaff conundrum. I was staying in Williams with family and had to travel to Flagstaff 3 times over the two days and the first time they told me to 'take Highway 89'. I played a game and asked 'Which 89?' 'What do you mean which 89?' Confusion on their end ensued and I had to explain the differences in State Routes, US Highways, and Interstates all the way to Flagstaff. It was a FUN drive lol.

AASHTO buy in on a long multiplex of I-40 or over AZ 89A might be a tough sell on a US Route designation these days.

Do they really still care that much? After US 400 I thought all the rules just went right out the window lol. Either way it wouldn’t multiplex I-40 at all, just I-40BL and replace AZ 89A.

Side note: does AZ 89A still officially end at Milton Rd/I-40BL in Flagstaff? I’ve seen conflicting posts also saying it multiplexes I-17 from exit 337 to Flagstaff and another and another saying the destination officially ends at exit 337.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2019, 10:40:38 AM »

I would have truncated it to Wickenburg from there to Tucson it made sense to downgrade it.

I see no reason why ADOT doesn't remove AZ 89A and AZ 89 from the system and replace them with US 89 once again. It's an easy signage swap considering ADOT still maintains all the necessary roads and it would get rid of the confusing AZ 89, AZ 89A and US 89 all ending near Flagstaff conundrum. I was staying in Williams with family and had to travel to Flagstaff 3 times over the two days and the first time they told me to 'take Highway 89'. I played a game and asked 'Which 89?' 'What do you mean which 89?' Confusion on their end ensued and I had to explain the differences in State Routes, US Highways, and Interstates all the way to Flagstaff. It was a FUN drive lol.

AASHTO buy in on a long multiplex of I-40 or over AZ 89A might be a tough sell on a US Route designation these days.

Do they really still care that much? After US 400 I thought all the rules just went right out the window lol. Either way it wouldn’t multiplex I-40 at all, just I-40BL and replace AZ 89A.

Side note: does AZ 89A still officially end at Milton Rd/I-40BL in Flagstaff? I’ve seen conflicting posts also saying it multiplexes I-17 from exit 337 to Flagstaff and another and another saying the destination officially ends at exit 337.

Actually it would have to multiplex I-40 no matter what given much of US 66/US 89 was relinquished to the city long ago..so yes, AZ 89A ends on Milton.  The most efficient route would be AZ 89A to Prescott but the Route Jerome probably wouldn’t sit well with engineer types at the AASHTO.  AASHTO aside nobody in ADOT would likely push to pursue extending US 89 again. 

US 89

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2019, 06:16:11 PM »

In addition, the fastest route from Flagstaff to Prescott is I-17 to AZ 169 to AZ 69, though I-40 to AZ 89 is only 7 minutes slower. Like everybody else here, I'm disappointed in ADOT's 1992 decision to eliminate the Flagstaff-Tucson section, but there's no going back now.
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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2019, 11:17:15 PM »

Wasn’t Mormon Lake Road supposed to be AZ 487 but it never actually ended up being adopted by ADOT?

AZ 487 was shown on some maps in the (I think) 1980s, but I don't think it was ever past the talking stage between ADOT and the Forest Service.  AFAIK (I haven't been on it in years), it is still Forest Highway 3.
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KeithE4Phx

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2019, 11:33:14 PM »

That being said -- if it were up to me, US 89 would have been rerouted south on the Mormon Lake road (suggested previously on multiple occasions as an addition to the state network) down to AZ 87, then replacing AZ 87 at least as far south as US 60 in Mesa or possibly all the way to I-10 at Eloy.

AZ 87 is discontinuous, and has been for about 20 years.  The largest (Beeline Hwy/Country Club Dr.) segment ends at McKellips Rd. in Mesa, just south of the 202 Red Mountain Fwy.  Then it's signed only on the Country Club Dr. interchange at US 60, just for the length of the overpass.  Finally, it doesn't begin again until the junction with AZ 587 at the Gila River Indian Community border, where 87 diagonals SE toward Coolidge. 

All of Arizona Ave. in Chandler (old 87) is now a city street, as is most of Country Club Dr. in Mesa other than what is mentioned above.  This is highly unlikely to change, ever.  The exit signs for Arizona Ave. on the Santan Fwy (Loop 202) show it as AZ 87, but the intersections themselves show no trace of it whatsoever.  The latter is correct.

In other words, there would be no way that ADOT would route US 89 down FH 3 to AZ 87, then south through Mesa and Chandler.  The only possibility would be if US 89 (AZ 87) were routed from Country Club Dr. onto the 202 Red Mountain, west to the 101, south to the 202 Santan, and east to Arizona Ave. with ADOT taking over that street between the Santan and the 587 split.  Don't hold your breath.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2019, 11:46:10 PM »

That being said -- if it were up to me, US 89 would have been rerouted south on the Mormon Lake road (suggested previously on multiple occasions as an addition to the state network) down to AZ 87, then replacing AZ 87 at least as far south as US 60 in Mesa or possibly all the way to I-10 at Eloy.

AZ 87 is discontinuous, and has been for about 20 years.  The largest (Beeline Hwy/Country Club Dr.) segment ends at McKellips Rd. in Mesa, just south of the 202 Red Mountain Fwy.  Then it's signed only on the Country Club Dr. interchange at US 60, just for the length of the overpass.  Finally, it doesn't begin again until the junction with AZ 587 at the Gila River Indian Community border, where 87 diagonals SE toward Coolidge. 

All of Arizona Ave. in Chandler (old 87) is now a city street, as is most of Country Club Dr. in Mesa other than what is mentioned above.  This is highly unlikely to change, ever.  The exit signs for Arizona Ave. on the Santan Fwy (Loop 202) show it as AZ 87, but the intersections themselves show no trace of it whatsoever.  The latter is correct.

In other words, there would be no way that ADOT would route US 89 down FH 3 to AZ 87, then south through Mesa and Chandler.  The only possibility would be if US 89 (AZ 87) were routed from Country Club Dr. onto the 202 Red Mountain, west to the 101, south to the 202 Santan, and east to Arizona Ave. with ADOT taking over that street between the Santan and the 587 split.  Don't hold your breath.

Question though, do State Highways and US Routes “have” to be signed on ADOT maintained highways?  I suspect that probably is the case considering how AZ 66 suddenly is no longer signed East of State Maintenance. 

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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2019, 11:58:19 PM »

Question though, do State Highways and US Routes “have” to be signed on ADOT maintained highways?  I suspect that probably is the case considering how AZ 66 suddenly is no longer signed East of State Maintenance.

They don't have to be signed if ADOT is maintaining them.  Some examples:  Sky Harbor Blvd./Loop 202S from the 202 Red Mountain Fwy to Sky Harbor Airport, E. Main St./US 60X in the county islands in the east Mesa area, and Fain Rd./AZ 89S in Prescott Valley, all of which are unsigned-but-maintained state highways. 

But if ADOT doesn't maintain a road, it is not signed as a state highway.  The former AZ 87 segments in Mesa and Chandler is one huge example.  So is Maricopa County Rte 238 between Mobile and Gila Bend is another, despite it being a direct continuation of AZ 238 from Maricopa to Mobile.
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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2019, 12:10:09 AM »

^^^^^^^^^^^
This may be a "chicken vs. egg" question -- but which DOT was first with the relinquishment craze -- Caltrans or ADOT?  In other words, whose bad/questionable habits (in both the maintenance and signage realms) migrated to the neighboring state? 
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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2019, 12:31:02 AM »

California was definitely first in terms of the decommissionings - the four primary east-west US routes in Arizona (66, 60, 70, and 80) all ended at the California line at various times before being further truncated. 89 was the only major Arizona truncation that didn't involve California, but that was comparatively late (1992) and Arizona had just eliminated their section of US 80 a few years prior.

In terms of signage, California is unique among western states in that they will relinquish parts of state routes to local jurisdiction, but it continues to be signed as a state route (in theory). In most of the west, there's little to no distinction between state routes and state maintenance, and routes are never signed on locally maintained roads.
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Re: AZ 89/Old US 89
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2019, 01:10:58 AM »

California was definitely first in terms of the decommissionings - the four primary east-west US routes in Arizona (66, 60, 70, and 80) all ended at the California line at various times before being further truncated. 89 was the only major Arizona truncation that didn't involve California, but that was comparatively late (1992) and Arizona had just eliminated their section of US 80 a few years prior.

In terms of signage, California is unique among western states in that they will relinquish parts of state routes to local jurisdiction, but it continues to be signed as a state route (in theory). In most of the west, there's little to no distinction between state routes and state maintenance, and routes are never signed on locally maintained roads.

Save for US 95 between San Luis and the Yuma municipal line. That's still signed by Yuma County.
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