The history of Interstate 10 through Arizona is a long one, one marked by tensions, realignments, and delays. While portions of the freeway were completed fairly early, the final section was not completed until 1990 - the last section of Interstate 10 completed in the United States.
I-10 is the primary Interstate from west to east in Arizona. Crossing the Colorado River in Ehrenberg, the freeway meets SR 95 and U.S. 95 in Quartzsite. U.S. 60 branches east from I-10 beyond the Plomosa Mountains near Brenda. Bee lining across Ranegras Plain and Harquahala Plain to Tonopah, I-10 converges with te north end of SR 85 at the city of Buckeye.
Passing just south of the White Tank Mountains through Buckeye Valley, Interstate 10 heads east through Goodyear into Phoenix, meeting I-17 at the Stack interchange. I-10 continues through Downtown Phoenix under Margaret T. Hance Park, which was constructed over the freeway. Forming a loop encircling the Phoenix central business district with I-17/U.S. 60, I-10 turns south at the Mini-stack interchange with SR 51 and Loop 202, then east from the end I-17. Shifting south through Broadway curve, I-10 continues alongside U.S. 60 to Tempe. South through Guadalupe and Chandler, I-10 leaves the Phoenix area beyond Loop 202.
Traveling southeast across the Sacaton Mountains and through Gila River Indian Reservation, Interstate 10 continues to Casa Grande, the east end of I-8 and Eloy. South of Eloy, I-10 passes Picacho Peak and the small town of Picacho, advancing through Marana before entering Tucson. I-10 passes to the west of Downtown Tucson to Interstate 19, where it angles across the south side of the city adjacent to Benson Highway (old U.S. 80).
East of Tucson, traffic decreases as Interstate 10 passes between the Rincon and Whetstone Mountains to Benson. Curving northeast, I-10 climbs Texas Canyon, passing Dragoon and The THING?, a noted roadside stop. U.S. 191 accompanies I-10 north of Willcox Playa into Willcox and the Sulphur Springs Valley. The two part ways north of the Dos Cabezas Mountains, with I-10 proceeding east into the San Simon Valley to Bowie, San Simon and the New Mexico state line.
Interstate 10 Arizona Guides
Nina Pulliam, wife of Eugene Pulliam (publisher of the Arizona Republic) saw these plans one night and remarked how she didn't like them. This was enough to change the editorial position of the influential paper. Combined with anti-freeway sentiments in the early 1970s, this led to the Papago Freeway's design rejection in a public vote. A revised design would not be created until 1983, which had the freeway traveling below grade and a ten block park, the Margaret T. Hance Deck Park, preserving continuity between 3rd Street and 3rd Avenue.
The section from Buckeye Road to I-17 was originally constructed in 1965 as Interstate 510 (later I-410) and reconstructed in 1988. Miles 147-150 were signed as SH 51 between 1988 and 1990, until I-10 was completed. Miles 255-262 were originally built in 1953 as SR 84A, an expressway bypass of Tucson. These were upgraded to I-10 between 1959 and 1962.
There is a construction project in Tucson to widen Interstate 10 through downtown. This section of Interstate 10 by Downtown Tucson, one of the oldest freeways in Arizona, was reconstructed in 1996 but not significantly widened at the time. A subsequent construction project by 2010 widened Interstate 10 to eight lanes through Downtown Tucson.
Other expansion plans called for reconstructing Interstate 10 from the Mini-Stack with Loop 202/SR 51 to Ray Road through Phoenix into a dual freeway configuration with up to 20 overall lanes.
Interstate 10 has five active business loops:
- Quartzsite - 2.4 miles, along old US 60.
- Benson - 3.2 miles. Old SR 86.
- Willcox - 8.0 miles. Old SR 86.
- Bowie - 4.0 miles. Old SR 86.
- San Simon - 3.5 miles. Old SR 86.
Former Business Loops
- Phoenix - Grand Avenue from I-17 to Van Buren Street, Van Buren Street from Grand Ave to 44th Street, and 44th Street (Hohokam Expressway) from Van Buren to I-10. Former U.S. 60 to 44th Street.
- Casa Grande - overlapped with SR 387 south and SR 287 (Florence Boulevard) east.
- Tucson (1) - SR 77 from Miracle Mile interchange to Oracle Road, then south on Oracle Road to Drachman Rd, then south on 6th Avenue to I-10. Also former U.S. 80/89 from Oracle Road to I-10. This was decommissioned in 1991
- Tucson (2) - Tucson-Benson Highway from Park Ave (Exit 262) to Exit 267 following Old U.S. 80. This was turned over to local maintenance by 2007.
|Flying J Road, the south frontage road for I-10, ties into a roundabout at the exchange with Juneau Avenue north in Ehrenberg. 03/02/19|
|Juneau Avenue stems north from the roundabout at Exit 5 0.4 miles to Ehrenberg Parkway Highway (old U.S. 60/70). 03/02/19|
|43rd Avenue south at Interstate 10 (Papago Freeway) in Phoenix. 04/07/13|
|Jimmy Kerr Boulevard (old SR 84) meets Interstate 10 at a folded diamond interchange (Exit 198) adjacent to a Union Pacific Railroad line in south Casa Grande. I-10 was expanded to eight lanes through this exchange in 2019/20. 04/26/17|
|I-10 heads south from Jimmy Kerr Boulevard to the east end of Interstate 8. Jimmy Kerry Boulevard continues northwest to Arizola. 04/26/17|
|Orange Grove Road heads west from the community of Casas Adobes into southeastern reaches of the Marana city limits, where it meets Interstate 10. 04/26/17|
|Passing below a Union Pacific Railroad line, Orange Grove Road enters the diamond interchange with I-10 at Exit 250. 04/26/17|
|The entrance ramp from Orange Grove Road joins Interstate 10 eastbound from the adjacent Frontage Road. 04/26/17|
|Johnson Road ties into Interstate 10 at a rural diamond interchange (Exit 322) midway between Texas Canyon and the Gunnison Hills. 11/10/07|
|The Little Dragoon Mountains rise northwest of Interstate 10 at Johnson Road. 11/10/07|
|The exchange at Johnson Road is known for Bowlin's "The Thing" Travel Center. 11/10/07|
|Button copy sign formerly posted at the eastbound entrance ramp for Interstate 10 along Johnson Road southbound. 11/10/07|
11/10/07, 04/07/13, 04/26/17, 03/02/19 by AARoads
Page Updated 04-15-2022.