Arizona State Routes
On September 9, 1927, Arizona rolled out its numbered state highway system. The State Highway Commission had been formed on August 11, 1927 to establish a formal highway system, incorporating the new Federal aid system and the US national highway numbering system. The original plan included 17 routes totaling 1,954 miles. At the time, most were little more than dirt tracks, and there were many gaps.
Most of the gaps were plugged by the end of the 1930s, but it wouldn't be until the 1950s that roads like we are accustomed to now would appear.
Arizona State routes are marked by a white silhouette of the state with the route number overlaid in black, and "ARIZONA" across the top.
A newer variant was introduced for loop routes in the Phoenix metro area. These are color coded by route (blue for Loop 101, brown for 202, and black for 303), and had the word "LOOP" across the top instead of ARIZONA.
It turned out that keeping the colors straight was a pain in the neck, and they were subject to fading. So in 2002 ADOT decided to make the LOOP signs all black-on-white, though still with "LOOP" instead of ARIZONA.
Arizona originally used an arrowhead with a Native American swastika on its highway signs until some guy named Adolf gave the symbol a bad name. The image on the left has the correct colors. I believe the one on the right was incorrectly repainted. (Photo courtesy of Scott Broady)
I thought that the swastika would have been removed in the 1940s, but it persisted on signs into the early 1950s. (Photo courtesy of Ron Spark)
Between 1959 and the mid-1960s, Arizona used color shields, with the color indicating the direction. If you have a photo, please let me know!
Design used in the mid to late 1960s. This is a blockier shape, but still reflects the actual western border better than the current design. (Photo courtesy of John Northup)
At one time or another, Arizona used all of the numbers from 60 to 99 for state or US routes, except 94. (As far as I know.)
Routes that were part of the original 1927 plan are marked with a *
Return to Arizona Roads
Last updated 1/7/2008