Abandoned U.S. 60

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Between 1946 and 1952, a number of projects were undertaken to rebuild U.S. 60, with the most notable ones between Superior and Miami/Globe. Over 144 miles were rebuilt during this time frame. Many of these old alignments are still visible, due to the dry desert air and ADOT's policy during the post-World War II era of building completely new alignments rather than widening old ones.

Perspective of Abandoned U.S. 60 at Queen Creek

The original "winding ladder" road was constructed in 1921. This road was bypassed between 1949 and 1952 with construction of the Queen Creek Bridge and Queen Creek Tunnel. The approximately one mile abandoned stretch of road has been evaluated for inclusion in the National Register of historic roads. Photos taken November 11, 2006.

Perspective of Westbound Abandoned U.S. 60 at Pinto Wash

This map shows the original 1922 alignment of U.S. 60, and the 1949 reroute of the road. Notice the amount of twists and turns that were eliminated during the reroute. This 1949 route is now being investigated for possible replacement as it does not meet current ADOT Highway Standards - will this be another abandoned highway?

This short section of former U.S. 60 profiled here was abandoned in 1949, after the construction of the Pinto Wash arch bridge. This road was still drivable for many years, but is no longer drivable. Photo taken 09/22/08.
The old road travels above the present-day alignment. Several washouts have occurred in old culverts where the road cuts were made. Photo taken 09/22/08.
This view is taken from the old road, looking down on the new road. Several road cuts for the new road go right up to the bed of the old road. Photo taken 09/22/08.
The old roadbed, while intact, is getting overgrown. Very few people trek along this abandoned road. Photo taken 09/22/08.
This view shows the present-day Pinto Wash bridge in relation to the 1922 road. Photo taken 09/22/08.
At this point, the old road turns south to enter Pinto Wash canyon, making a gradual descent to a low crossing of the wash, unlike the high bridge in place now. Photo taken 09/22/08.
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Now along the wall of Pinto Wash, we see some of the reasons this road was bypassed - it's narrow width (barely 22 feet before overgrowth) and blind curves. Photos taken 09/22/08.
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These two photos show some of the original dry rock walls, which amazingly enough are still holding, after years of no maintenance and over 80 years after construction. Photos taken 09/22/08.
The old road crosses a side canyon on fill, then turns back west to head toward Pinto Wash proper. Photo taken 09/22/08.
This photo, looking south down the canyon, shows the low culvert that crosses Pinto Wash. I was rather surprised to see this rock wall over the culvert, as opposed to a proper bridge. Photo taken 09/22/08.
The low road cuts can be seen in the canyon walls. Photo taken 09/22/08.
Rock slides have started to reclaim portions of the old road, as seen in this photo. Photo taken 09/22/08.
Abandoned U.S. 60 east at Pinto Wash
Now facing eastbound, this photo shows the banked curves that were common on roads from this time frame. Photo taken 09/22/08.
Abandoned U.S. 60 followed the lay of the land much more closely than later alignments do. Photo taken 09/22/08.
Looking across Pinto Wash, the retaining walls and path of the abandoned highway is still clearly visible. Photo taken 09/22/08.
The old road is starting to get somewhat overgrown, but is still passable by foot or by bicycle. Photo taken 09/22/08.
The faded white center line can still be seen on portions of the old road. This was a bit of a surprise as this paint probably dates back to the 1940s! Photo taken 09/22/08.
This view, looking along one of the retaining walls, shows the present-day road in the background and the old road in the foreground. Photo taken 09/22/08.
This blind curve leads out of Pinto Wash canyon, heading east towards Miami. After walking this road, I can see how come this was bypassed - this would be scary at speeds above 20 MPH. Photo taken 09/22/08.
Looking across Pinto Wash, the roadbed on the far side of the canyon is still clearly visible. Photo taken 09/22/08.
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One can only imagine how hair-raising this road must have been to drive in 1948. Photos taken 09/22/08.
This view looks down on the modern Pinto Wash bridge. Photo taken 09/22/08.
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2 photos
Former U.S. 60 now turns east and hugs a path above the current U.S. 60. Photos taken 09/22/08.
While this road was drivable for many years, erosion has taken a toll, as seen in this photo showing both the old and present-day highway. Photo taken 09/22/08.
Former U.S. 60 sits silently above it's younger sibling, located below the old abandoned road. Photo taken 09/22/08.
This ADOT right of way marker is in the middle of the old road. Photo taken 09/22/08.
This photo shows a good view of the correlation between the old and the present-day road. Photo taken 09/22/08.
This is the last washout before reaching FS349, and the first washout that makes this old road impassable. Photo taken 09/22/08.
This is where the old road meets FS349, and heads down to the present-day alignment of U.S. 60. Photo taken 09/22/08.

Photo Credits:

09/22/08 by Kevin Trinkle

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U.S. 60

Page Updated 10-19-2008.