Interstate 8 West - Pinal County

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Interstate 8 west
This is the first shield on westbound Interstate 8 after the Interstate 10 interchange near Casa Grande. The section of Interstate 8 with the lowest traffic counts is between Casa Grande and Gila Bend. Photo taken 01/17/05.
The transition ramp from eastbound Interstate 10 merges onto westbound Interstate 8 at this point. From here, Interstate 8 skirts the north edge of the Tohono O'Odham Nation and the south edge of the city of Casa Grande. The freeway largely stays in a rural environment from here west to Gila Bend, the next major stop on the freeway. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Continuing west, a second reassurance shield for Interstate 8 west is posted after all the lanes merge together. Photo taken 01/17/05.
A mileage sign provides the distance to Gila Bend (Junction Business Loop I-8 and Arizona 85, 60 miles), Yuma (176 miles), and San Diego (353 miles). Interstate 8 spends six more miles in Arizona (178 miles) than it does in California (172 miles). Photo taken 01/17/05.
The next two exits both serve the city of Casa Grande: Exit 174, Trekell Road and Exit 172, Thornton Road. Photo taken 01/17/05.
For motorist services (gas, food, lodging, and camping) use Exit 174 or Exit 172. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Westbound Interstate 8 approaches Exit 174, Trekell Road. To the north is Casa Grande. Founded in 1879 and incorporated in 1915, Casa Grande is one of the largest communities in Pinal County and sits at the crossroads of Interstate 8 and Interstate 10. Long-range plans call for a great deal of growth in this region as population expansion presses from Phoenix to the northwest and Tucson to the southeast. Sitting at an elevation of 1,405 feet above sea level, Casa Grande is home to 32.855 people as of the 2000 Census. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Use Exit 174 (Trekell Road) to a hospital in Casa Grande. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Westbound Interstate 8 reaches Exit 174, Trekell Road to Casa Grande. Photo taken 01/17/05.
The next exit along westbound Interstate 8 is Exit 172, Thornton Road. This interchange also serves Casa Grande. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Thornton Road travels north from Interstate 8 to Arizona 84 in Casa Grande. Before Interstate 8 was completed between Casa Grande and Gila Bend, Arizona 84 served as the main route between Tucson and Gila Bend. Arizona 84 offered a more direct route to San Diego by avoiding Phoenix and staying south of urban areas. Today, Arizona 84 is a mere shadow of its former self, only connecting Casa Grande with Interstate 8 at Exit 151. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Westbound Interstate 8 reaches Exit 172, Thornton Road. No services are available until Exit 151, Arizona 84 east and Arizona 347/John Wayne Highway north. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Leaving metropolitan Casa Grande, a mileage sign provides the distance to Gila Bend (Junction Business Loop I-8 and Arizona 85, 57 miles), Yuma (171 miles), and San Diego (348 miles). Photo taken 01/17/05.
As Interstate 8 spends most of its travels through the desert, a warning sign advises of blowing dust (especially during wind storms). Photo taken 01/17/05.
The tiny Santa Cruz River passes under Interstate 8 at this nondescript bridge. This river, while it may not seem like much, is more important than it appears. It originates in southeastern Arizona in the mountains east of Sonoita in Santa Cruz County. Flowing northwest, the Santa Cruz River flows through Tucson on its way to here, skirting Eloy, Arizona City, and Casa Grande before merging with the Santa Rosa Wash. The Santa Cruz River then merges into the Gila River southwest of downtown Phoenix. Photo taken 01/17/05.
The next exit along westbound Interstate 8 is Exit 169, Bianco Road. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Use Bianco Road north to Arizona 84 and south for local ranch access before dead-ending. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Westbound Interstate 8 reaches Exit 169, Bianco Road. Several interchanges along this stretch of Interstate 8 were designed in this manner, with a loop ramp exit rather than a more traditional diamond interchange. Photo taken 01/17/05.
The next exit along westbound Interstate 8 is Exit 167, Montgomery Road. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Like Bianco Road, Montgomery Road is an arterial county road that travels north to Arizona 84 and south for local ranch access before dead-ending. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Westbound Interstate 8 reaches Exit 167, Montgomery Road. Photo taken 01/17/05.
This mileage sign provides the distance to Stanfield (8 miles), Gila Bend (Junction Business Loop I-8 and Arizona 85, 50 miles), and San Diego (343 miles). Photo taken 01/17/05.
Shortly thereafter, Interstate 8 west crosses the Santa Rosa Wash, which flows north into the aforementioned Santa Cruz River. This wash may be dry during much of the year, but it can be a raging river during the monsoonal season after a severe thunderstorm in the summer months. Photo taken 01/17/05.
The next exit along westbound Interstate 8 is Exit 161, Stanfield Road north to Stanfield and Arizona 84. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Stanfield Road travels north to Arizona 84 in Stanfield and south into the Tohono O'Odham Indian Nation. Upon crossing into the reservation, Stanfield Road becomes Indian Route 42, which travels south to Kohatk. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Westbound Interstate 8 reaches Exit 161, Stanfield Road. The town of Stanfield is home to 651 people and is situated at the intersection of Stanfield Road and Arizona 84. The next exit is ten miles west of here. Photo taken 01/17/05.
This mileage sign provides the distance to the next exit (Arizona 84 and Arizona 347 at Exit 151), Yuma (rather than Gila Bend this time), and the control city of San Diego. Photo taken 01/17/05.
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Between Exits 161 and 151, Interstate 8 serves as the northern boundary of Sonoran Desert National Monument, which is administered by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and consists of over 496,000 acres of pristine Sonora Desert land. Three mountain ranges (Maricopa, Sand Tank and Table Top Mountains) pass through the monument. There are no developed facilities within the monument, but saguaro cacti line the freeway. This suite of pictures shows this stretch of Interstate 8 as it passes through the Sonoran Desert National Monument. A 500 kV power line intersects Interstate 8; it connects Tucson and Nogales with the Phoenix power grid about two miles east of the Arizona 84 and Arizona 347 interchange (Exit 151). Photos taken 01/17/05.
The next exit along westbound Interstate 8 is Exit 151, Arizona 84 and Arizona 347. These two state highways share an alignment east for a mile or two, then split. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Arizona 84 travels east to Stanfield and Casa Grande, while Arizona 347 follows John Wayne Highway north to Maricopa and Interstate 10 southeast of downtown Phoenix. Most of Arizona 347 is a four-lane, divided highway. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Two saguaro cacti sit just north of the freeway before the Arizona 84 and Arizona 347 interchange. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Westbound Interstate 8 reaches Exit 151, Arizona 84 and Arizona 347. A gas station (with food mart) is available at this interchange; no further services are available for 33 miles. Photo taken 01/17/05.
The next exit along westbound Interstate 8 is a picnic area with no facilities near Milepost 150. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Tall palo verde trees partially obscure the half-mile advance sign for the picnic area. A full-service rest area is located just west of Sentinel, but no bathrooms are available at the picnic area. The rest area just east of Gila Bend was closed at the time we traveled through this stretch of Interstate 8. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Westbound Interstate 8 reaches Exit 150, Picnic Area. Photo taken 01/17/05.
This reassurance shield is posted after the picnic area on westbound Interstate 8. The freeway will continue to skirt the northern edge of the Sonoran Desert National Monument until Exit 144, Vekol Road, and then the freeway enters the monument until near Gila Bend. Photo taken 01/17/05.
This mileage sign provides the distance to Gila Bend and San Diego. Omitted is the mileage to the rest area, which was closed at the time this picture was taken. Photo taken 01/17/05.
Interstate 8 leaves Pinal County and enters Maricopa County. Maricopa County is the most populous county in Arizona, as it contains Phoenix and its suburbs as well as Gila Bend. Photo taken 01/17/05.


 


Photo Credits:

01/17/05 by AARoads

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Arizona 84
Arizona 347

Page Updated 03-23-2007.