State Route 99

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Arizona 99 is the tale of a route with lofty ambitions, cut down by factors during the 1970s to leave the road as a relatively insignificant route in the State Highway System.

Arizona 99 begins southeast of Winslow, traveling toward the city. After passing Winslow, a short multiplex with Interstate 40 leads to the continuation of the route, taking it to Leupp on the Navajo Nation where the state highway ends.

The first leg of Arizona 99 was originally Arizona 487, added to the State Highway System in 1967 between Winslow and Heber. The second leg, between Interstate 40 and Gray Mountain, was added to the State Highway system in 1968. In 1969, both corridors were merged together into Arizona 99. Arizona 487 was only signed in the field for one year.

The northern leg towards the Grand Canyon was planned as a shortcut for travelers from the east to reach the canyon.

In 1977, the section of the proposed route south of the current terminus (via Chevelon Canyon and the Sitgreaves Forest) was deleted from the State Highway System. The remaining section was included in the system to facilitate logging traffic from the forest to a sawmill that no longer exists.

With the growth of electronic mapping tools, some of them (including Google Maps) show Arizona 99 as a through route from Winslow south to Arizona 260. While the road is technically a through route, it is not a state maintained highway for the entire distance, and unpaved for approximately 1/3 of the length between Winslow and Arizona 260. In addition, the road is closed during winter snows in the Sitgreaves National Forest. In December 2011, a young woman made the news for being stuck on Forest Road 34 for approximately two weeks.

Arizona 99 south
Arizona 99 begins at Leupp, at Indian Route 15. The first distance sign shows 26 miles remaining to Winslow. Photo taken 06/19/11.
2 photos
Arizona 99 is not plowed on nights and weekends during storms. Photo taken 06/19/11.
Distance sign to Interstate 40 (19 miles) and Winslow (26 miles). Photo taken 06/19/11.
This is one of the few reassurance markers along Arizona 99. Photo taken 06/19/11.
2 photos
2 photos
Arizona 99 travels through largely unpopulated land through the Navajo Nation. Photos taken 06/19/11.
Arizona 99 has a hard turn to the east when it meets Interstate 40. Photo taken 06/19/11.
Arizona 99 becomes Hunt Road, effectively the northbound Frontage road to Interstate 40 at this point. Arizona 99 parallels Interstate 40 for one mile. Photo taken 06/19/11.
Advance signage for Interstate 40, 1/4 mile. Photo taken 06/19/11.
Arizona 99 meets Interstate 40 here. To continue on Arizona 99, travellers must join eastbound Interstate 40 to Winslow. Photo taken 06/19/11.
Interstate 40 East Arizona Route 99 South
Interstate 40 has now descended to 5000 feet in elevation, and will stay at approximately that elevation the rest of the way through Arizona. Photo taken 06/28/08.
Distance sign to Winslow (8 miles), Holbrook (40 miles) and Albuquerue (274 miles). Photo taken 06/28/08.
Interstate 40 crosses Tucker Flat Wash here. Photo taken 06/28/08.
Winslow was established as a railway division stop along the AT&SF railroad. Today, the town is best known for "Standing in a Corner" park, from the Eagles song "Take It Easy". The next three exits are Hipkoe Drive, North Park Drive and Transcon Lane. Photo taken 06/28/08.
Interstate 40 enters the city of Winslow, as well as Navajo County, here. Photo taken 06/28/08.
Advance signage for exit 252, Former Business Loop 40 and Hipkoe Drive. While Business Loop 40 was still signed in 2008, the road was decommissioned in 2007 and turned over to the city of Winslow for maintenance. Photo taken 06/28/08.
Use exit 252 to reach Arizona 87 southbound, as well as Historic U.S. 66 (which is former Business Loop 40). Photo taken 06/28/08.
Exit 252 marks the western edge of Former Business Loop 40, Winslow, and the beginning of Business Spur 40. Photo taken 06/28/08.
Exit 252 marks the western edge of Business Loop 40, Winslow, and the beginning of Business Spur 40. Hipkoe Drive departs from Interstate 40 here. Photo taken 06/28/08.
Arizona Route 99 South Former Business Loop I-40 East
On the west end of Winslow, Former Business Loop I-40 can be seen. To the right is an older alignment of Former U.S. 66. Photo taken 11/12/06.
Historic U.S. 66 is a designated scenic route through Arizona. Photo taken 11/12/06.
The former Business Loop is well-signed through Winslow. This is where eastbound Former Business Loop 40 turned to join Second Street (the historic alignment of U.S. 66). Photo taken 11/12/06.
Standin' On A Corner Park is located along Eastbound Former Business Loop 40 at Second Street and Kinsley Avenue. The Park was dedicated in 1999, and is named after the song lyric from The Eagles song, "Take It Easy". Photo taken 11/12/06.
Advance signage for Arizona 87, 1/2 mile. Photo taken 11/12/06.
Use the right lane for Arizona 87 south to Payson and Phoenix. Photo taken 11/12/06.
Arizona 99 south
Now back as an independent route, we find a reassurance marker for Arizona 99. Photo taken 06/19/11.
Distance sign to McHood Park Lake (5 miles) and Woods Canyon Lake (56 miles). Photo taken 06/19/11.
2 photos
Arizona 99 is not plowed on nights and weekends during storms. Photo taken 06/19/11.
South of Winslow, Arizona 99 travels through very sparsely populated ranch land. There are no towns along Arizona 99 or motorist services. Photo taken 06/19/11.
Arizona 99 crosses Clear Creek. Clear Creek is a small recreation area. Photo taken 06/19/11.
Turn left for Territorial Road. Photo taken 06/19/11.
Arizona 99 continues to travel through desolate ranch country. Photo taken 06/19/11.
Arizona 99 ends here. Photo taken 06/19/11.
The road continues as a Navajo County road until reaching the boundary of the Sitgraves National Forest. At that point, the road becomes Forest Road 34 and continues, unpaved, until reaching Forest Road 300 (the Rim Road). Photo taken 06/19/11.

Sources:
  1. Minutes of the State Highway Commission. 4/5/1968, Arizona Highway Commission.
  2. Faulty Arizona 99 highway leads drivers to dead end. Arizona Republic, 1/1/2012. Retrieved 1/3/2012.


Photo Credits:

11/12/06, 06/28/08, 06/19/11 by Kevin Trinkle

Connect with:
Interstate 40
State Route 87 - Beeline Highway

Page Updated 02-14-2012.