Arizona Roads - AZ Loop 303
Loop 303 SB currently ends at I-10 and turns into Cotton Lane. Two of the three reverse shields I found were on the route itself, which apparently is designated "L" by ADOT despite there being no other 303s around. The button copy certainly dates from when Cotton Lane was not Loop 303. (303 was constructed to the east of Cotton Ln. on up through Surprise, so there's now a discontinuity in Cotton Ln. just north of I-10 and McDowell Rd., but the I-10 interchange was untouched.)
The Bell Rd. interchange in Surprise, where both directions of Loop 303 temporarily follow the SB off- and onramps. Bell Rd. has already been moved onto the future overpass so that the road can be constructed below. Given that I said "below," I wonder why there are huge mounds of dirt extending well above ground level.
Continuing south down the future onramp.
Passing SB under Clearview Blvd. When an freeway underpass is constructed, it has to accommodate the future second roadway, whereas overpasses can be built one at a time.
Same deal SB under Mountain View Blvd., with the last photo looking north.
SB entering Surprise at US 60. Surprise - both directions are squeezing onto one overpass! Eventually that won't have to be the case.
Peoria, Arizona. Describing this photo is like merging to no freeway. As of April, 2010, Loop 303 was well under construction to the east but only open from Happy Valley Pkwy. south. (In case you can't tell, this being a loop, it happens to change direction right here.)
One of the few remaining reverse-color Loop 303 shields, Happy Valley Pkwy. WB and possibly gone now with extension of Loop 303 completed.
Happy Valley Pkwy. is already signed as Exit 125 NB, despite the lack of choice. And just down the road is another sign (for Happy Valley Pkwy. passing underneath). It may be decades or it may be never before Exit 1 appears, signifying completion of the loop. Right now there's just not enough development to justify extension, and we're talking about one of the hottest (metaphorically, I swear) places to live.
NB and future SB signs north of Happy Valley Rd. At that time, Lone Mountain Pkwy. hadn't yet been extended to Loop 303, but that was to have been remedied by the end of 2011.
Looking northwest on 115th Ave., which is what passes for exurbia in Arizona. There aren't even streets to go under these bridges yet.
Now looking south, with the second photo over Happy Valley Pkwy. at Exit 125.
If it weren't for all those barricades around, Loop 303 could seemingly be driven now! Until you get to a missing bridge with nowhere to exit. Happy Valley Pkwy. WB at what was then the beginning of Loop 303.
Grainy photos taken farther east on Happy Valley, looking northwest at some of the same features I saw from 115th Ave.
Lake Pleasant Pkwy. NB over a recently constructed underpass for what would become Loop 303. Party at the barricades! Even with everything open in this area, it will take years of development to even get to needing one lane each way, let alone two, on Lake Pleasant Pkwy.
The Loop 303 EB off- and onramps to Lake Pleasant Pkwy. The signs are already up, usually one of the last activities before final striping. I bet that unlike on Lake Pleasant NB, the Loop 303 signs already have text on them.
So even the striping is down, and only landscaping remains in this area, looking east. Loop 303 looks like it's wide enough for three lanes each way. Talk about advance planning - I'd wager it will never need to be expanded. Compare that to New Jersey, where the NJ 24 freeway was even built with enough room to eventually widen to three lanes, but that hasn't been done despite an obvious need for it.
Across the bridge to the north side, pirouetting around to face southward. That's some aggressive landscaping, there in the future EB lanes.
How much work does it really take to plant a bunch of cacti? Heck, the landscaping crews could disappear tomorrow and I bet Nature would fill in the gap pretty quickly with exactly this.
To complete the set, the Loop 303 WB off- and onramps to Lake Pleasant Pkwy.
Looking west, with a wash crossing in the far distance. I look forward to driving the completed road someday (at least, the part that has any chance of being open in my lifetime).
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