- Arizona State Route 51
alternate_name= Piestewa Freeway
length_ref=cite web |url=http://tpd.az.gov/data/reports/2006SHSLog.pdf |title=2006 ADOT Highway Log |author=
Arizona Department of Transportation|accessdate=2008-04-09]
starting_terminus=jct|state=AZ|I|10|SR|202 in Phoenix
ending_terminus=jct|state=AZ|Loop|101 in Phoenix
State Route 51 (SR 51), also known as the Piestewa Freeway, is a numbered
state highwayin Phoenix, Arizona. It connects Interstate 10 in Downtown Phoenixwith Loop 101 on the north side of Phoenix, making it one of the area's major freeways. It is a largely north-south route and is known for traversing the Squaw Peak Recreation Area. Rapid growth and increased traffic demand of the east side of Metro Phoenix made the Piestewa Freeway necessary.
SR 51 is the lowest-numbered state highway in
Arizona, but there is a proposed State Route 48, near Prescott. SR 51 was originally planned as an Interstate 510 but has never been numbered as such at any stage of completionFact|date=August 2008.
The southern terminus of SR 51 is located at an interchange with I-10 and Loop 202 immediately east of downtown Phoenix. It heads north from the interchange through the northern sections of Phoenix. The freeway travels through some major areas of Phoenix, and past some major services such as the Arizona Childrens Hospital, Arizona Heart Hospital and Heart Institute, and the Camelback Colonnade at 24th Street and Camelback Road. The highway then begins to climb to the top of the Dreamy Draw, a mountain passage between Camelback Mountain and North Mountain, before descending into the Paradise Valley area of North Phoenix. It reaches its northern terminus at an interchange with Loop 101 in northern Phoenixcite map|url=http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=phoenix,+az&ie=UTF8&ll=33.551696,-111.962357&spn=0.235764,0.596695&z=11 |accessdate=2008-08-22|title=SR 51 Overview|publisher=
Google Maps|cartography= NAVTEQ] .
The freeway was originally named the Squaw Peak Parkway. The name, which can be perceived as a derogatory term for Native American women, had caused ADOT to quietly remove the official term for a few years until
U.S. Armyspecialist and Arizona native Lori Piestewawas killed in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Both the freeway and the mountain were renamed after her on May 1, 2003.
There are plans to widen the Piestewa Freeway between Shea Blvd and the Loop 101 interchange to include a high occupancy vehicle lane in each direction and on ramps to Loop 101 eastbound. Construction began in the fall of 2007. [cite web|url=http://www.azdot.gov/Highways/Valley_Freeways/SR51/index.asp#FwyMap|title=State Route 51 (Piestewa Freeway)|author=
Arizona Department of Transportation|accessdate=2008-04-09]
The routing of the freeway was first established in 1968 under the designation of State Route 510 and the name Squaw Peak Freeway. [cite web|author=
Arizona Department of Transportation|accessdate=2008-04-14|date=1968-09-30|title=Arizona DOT Right-of-Way Resolution 1968-069|url=http://www.azhighwaydata.com/resolutions/?resnum=1968-%20-069] The original five miles (8 km) of the freeway between McDowell Rd and Glendale Ave were constructed by the city of Phoenix (as the Squaw Peak Parkway) between 1986 and 1991. The first overpass to be completed was in 1986 at Osborn Road.cite web|author= Arizona Department of Transportation|title=Arizona State Highway System Bridge Record|url=http://www.azdot.gov/Highways/bridge/BridgeInventory/PDF/BridgeInv-All.pdf|accessdate=2008-04-16] In 1987, the bridge over the Grand Canal had been completed, as well as the overpass at McDowell Road and the southbound connector to eastbound I-10. [cite web|url=http://nationalbridges.com/nbi_record.php?StateCode=04&struct=1976|title=SR 51 to I-10 ramp|publisher= National Bridge Inventory|accessdate=2008-04-14] Also completed in 1987, were the overpasses at Colter Street and Missouri Avenue that passed over the freeway. Several more overpasses were completed in 1988 including those located at Indian School Road, Highland Avenue, Camelback Road and Bethany Home Road. Also in 1988, the state established a corridor for the freeway from Glendale Avenue north to Loop 101. [cite web|author=Arizona Department of Transportation|accessdate=2008-04-14|date=1988-06-17|title=Arizona DOT Right-of-Way Resolution 1988-06-A-058|url=http://www.azhighwaydata.com/resolutions/?resnum=1988-06-A-058] In 1989, the bridge over the Arizona Canalwas complete, as well as the overpass at Thomas Road. The southbound SR 51 connector ramp to eastbound Loop 202 and the 20th Street overpass were completed in 1990. [cite web|url=http://nationalbridges.com/nbi_record.php?StateCode=04&struct=2127|title=SR 51 to Loop 202 ramp|publisher= National Bridge Inventory|accessdate=2008-04-14] The city of Phoenix had the freeway completed as far north as Glendale Avenue in 1991.
In 1992, the southern portion was handed over to the
Arizona Department of Transportation. [cite web|author=Arizona Department of Transportation|accessdate=2008-04-14|date=1992-02-21|title=Arizona DOT Right-of-Way Resolution 1992-02-A-012|url=http://www.azhighwaydata.com/resolutions/?resnum=1992-02-A-012] Since then, it has been extended to Loop 101 and retrofitted with rubberized asphalt, standardized signage, an additional general purpose to create three lanes in each direction, and a new high occupancy vehicle lane up to Shea Blvd.
During much of the road's early days in the 1990s, several decorative pots were mounted on top of the noise mitigation walls, which were a source of controversy at the time of their installation due to cost and aesthetics, etc. One resident installed a gold toilet in protest. They were all taken down during the ADOT reconstruction project between McDowell Rd and Shea Blvd in 2000, however. [cite web|url=http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2008-01-24/culture/fifteen-years-after-the-squaw-peak-pots-debacle-the-phoenix-art-community-rallies-around-a-public-art-project-by/|title=Fifteen years after the Squaw Peak Pots debacle, the Phoenix art community rallies around a public-art project|publisher=
Phoenix New Times|accessdate=2008-04-13]
* [http://www.arizonaroads.com/urban/piestewa.html Piestewa Freeway] from [http://www.arizonaroads.com/ Arizona Roads]
* [http://www.arizonaroads.com/arizona/az51.html SR 51] , also from Arizona Roads
* [http://www.dot.state.az.us/Highways/RFS/sr51/sr51schedule.asp Official State Route 51 construction schedule] Dead link|date=June 2008
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