State Route 87 - Beeline Highway

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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.

Arizona State Route 87 North
North of Loop 202, SR 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). SR 87 is on Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community land here. Photo taken 03/29/08.
SR 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.
SR 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. SR 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.
SR 87 leaves the Ft. McDowell Indian Reservation and enters the Tonto National Forest here. Photo taken 03/29/08.
SR 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, SR 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. SR 87 is now in the Tonto National Forest. Photo taken 03/29/08.
2 photos
2 photos
SR 87 drops into Mesquite Wash after this low hill. Photos taken 03/29/08.
2 photos
Reassurance marker for SR 87. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Distance sign to Sunflower (9 miles) and Payson (43 miles). Photo taken 03/29/08.
SR 87 crosses through an unnamed wash and descends into Sycamore Creek Canyon. Photo taken 03/29/08.
SR 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 SR 87 as it winds northward. Photo taken 03/29/08.
SR 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 SR 87. Photo taken 03/29/08.
SR 87 does a wide sweeping descent to Sunflower here. Photo taken 03/29/08.
SR 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 SR 188 (19 miles), Rye (24 miles) and Payson (34 miles). Photo taken 03/29/08.
On March 21, 2008, SR 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 SR 87 was rebuilt in 2003 to the present-day alignment as a four lane road to replace the original SR 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.
SR 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, SR 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.
SR 87 winds around the side of Pine Butte. Photo taken 03/29/08.
SR 87 descends into Gold Creek Canyon on its way to SR 188. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Advance signage for SR 188, 1/2 mile. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Turn right on SR 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.
SR 188 departs from SR 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 SR 87 to Payson. Photo taken 03/29/08.
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2 photos
SR 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.
2 photos
Reassurance marker for SR 87. Photo taken 03/29/08.
SR 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. SR 87 is the main street through Payson. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Advance signage for SR 260, 1/2 mile. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Use the right lane for SR 260 eastbound to Show Low and Holbrook. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Continue ahead on SR 87 northbound and Arizona 260 westbound to Winslow and Cottonwood, or turn right on SR 260 to Show Low and Holbrook. Photo taken 03/29/08.
SR 260 eastbound separates from SR 87 northbound here. Photo taken 03/29/08.
Arizona State Route 87 South
Southbound SR 87 (Country Club Drive) approaching 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 SR 87 (Country Club Drive) at U.S. 60 (Superstition Freeway) in Mesa. SR 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:

    03/02/03 by AARoads. 03/29/08 by Kevin Trinkle.

Connect with:
Interstate 10
Interstate 40
U.S. 60
State Route 99
State Route 188
Loop 202
State Route 260

Page Updated 02-25-2009.