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Hohokam Expressway

The Hohokam Expressway has a long history and gestation period. The road was first planned as part of the 1960 Freeway plan as a collector road for traffic from the east side of Phoenix, as well as a proposed eastern exit from Sky Harbor Airport. The present-day interchange with Interstate 10 was completed in 1967 as part of the original freeway construction.

The final EIS was issued in 1974, for the original route which went from Interstate 10 north along 48th Street, then angled across the Salt River to reach 44th Street where the expressway ended. The original expressway opened in 1978 to University Drive, and was signed as Business Loop 10.

The expressway quickly became a traffic nightmare, despite having only three stoplights. As a stopgap measure, a grade-separated interchange at University Drive was built in 1985.

The expressway was built with a low bridge over the Salt River, so it was subject to closure during floods.

In 1985, the route was surveyed as part of the 1985 freeway plan, and added to the system with a reroute. The route was changed to meet up with Loop 202 at 48th Street, to provide regional access between Loop 202 and Interstate 10, and a sister route, Arizona 153, was added to provide airport access from 44th Street, due to limited expansion capacity on the Arizona 143 corridor.

Construction timeline:

  • 1978: Interstate 10 to University Drive (expressway)
  • 1980: University Drive to 44th Street (expressway)
  • 1985: University Drive Interchange
  • February 1991: University Drive to the Sky Harbor Blvd
  • November 1991: Sky Harbor Blvd to Washington Street
  • February 1992: Washington Street to McDowell Road

The ramp from Arizona 143 Northbound to Sky Harbor Blvd was considered temporary and was designed to be removed upon completion of Arizona 153. However, with the decommissioning of Arizona 153 in August 2007, the interchange between Arizona 143 and Spur 202 (Sky Harbor Blvd) is planned to become fully directional.

Arizona 143 is planned to be widened to three to four lanes each direction as part of the Interstate 10 corridor projects currently under discussion.

Perspective from Arizona 143 Southbound
Southbound Arizona 143/Hohokam Expressway approaching Exit 5, Junction Loop 202/Red Mountain Freeway. Arizona 143 is a very narrow freeway through here, with substandard shoulders on both sides. It is principally a connector from Interstate 10, Loop 202, and McDowell Road to Sky Harbor International Airport. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
Arizona 143 passes under the Red Mountain Freeway (Loop 202) at the directional East Papago Traffic Interchange. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
Arizona 143 is known as the Hohokam Expressway, a name it has held since it opened. The expressway passes just east of Pueblo Grande museum, preserving a Hohokam pueblo. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
The Hohokam Expressway is an elevated facility for the northern section, north of the Salt River. To the right of the picture, Arizona 153 can be seen. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
Advance signage for exit 2, University Drive. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
Use University Drive to reach Rio Salado College, a community college, as well as Arizona 153 and Sky Harbor Airport. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
University Drive departs from Arizona 143 here, at exit 2. This exit was first built in 1985 as part of upgrades on the Hohokam Expressway, with the exit ramps rebuilt in 1992. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
Arizona 143 ends just south of Interstate 10. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
Exit 1B departs for Interstate 10 west here. Use Interstate 10 west to reach Interstate 17 and downtown Phoenix. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
After crossing Interstate 10 (on the original 48th Street bridge built in 1967), exit 1A departs as a loop ramp to Interstate 10 East. Use Interstate 10 east to reach US 60 and Ahwatukee. After this ramp, Arizona 143 ends and becomes 48th Street. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
Perspective from Arizona 143 Northbound
Just south of Broadway Road, we find this sign advising traffic to turn left for Interstate 10 west (on Broadway Road), and right for Interstate 10 east. This sign is actually located on 48th Street - Arizona 143 begins just north of Broadway Road. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
Advance signage for exit 2, University Drive. This sign dates back to when the University Drive ramp was added in 1985, with the exit tab added afterwards. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
Use exit 2 to reach Rio Salado College. The two lanes that come in the background of the picture carry traffic from Interstate 10 eastbound. Photos taken April 8, 2007.
University Drive exits here, at exit 2. The next two exits are Loop 202 East and Sky Harbor Blvd. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
Advance signage for the next three exits - Loop 202 East, Sky Harbor Airport and Washington Street. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
Exit 3A (signed as exit 3) departs here for Loop 202 Eastbound. This ramp connects with unsigned Loop 202 Spur. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
Now crossing over Loop 202 Spur, the next exit is the loop ramp to Sky Harbor Airport, exit 3B. This ramp was intended to be temporary until Arizona 153 was completed, but with the cancellation of Arizona 153, this ramp is now permanent. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
Distance sign to Washington Street, Loop 202 Westbound and McDowell Road. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
Exit 4 departs here to Washington Street. Use Washington Street to reach Gateway Community College and Pueblo Grande Museum. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
The Hohokam Expressway is a short expressway, and it ends just north of the Loop 202 directional interchange. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
The last exit on the Hohokam Expressway is exit 5, and the ramp from Exit 5 passes over the expressway here. Exit 5 serves Loop 202 westbound as part of the directional East Papago Interchange. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
Arizona 143 passes under Loop 202. Loop 202 passes above Arizona 143, and the ramp from Loop 202 eastbound to McDowell Road passes above Loop 202. Photo taken April 8, 2007.
Arizona 143 ends here, at McDowell Road. Plans were to extend the expressway one mile north to Thomas Road, but these plans were never completed. Photo taken April 8, 2007.

Page Updated April 12, 2007.