AZRE’s Centennial Series for this issue focuses on 100 years of infrastructure.
Find out what is ranked as the most significant infrastructure in Arizona history:
INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM
Construction completed for the I-10: 1956-58, I-17: 1954, I-40: 1961-84
I-10: A major East-West interstate highway, it runs from California, enters Arizona, continues through Phoenix and Tucson and exits at the New Mexico border. I-17: It was the first freeway segment built in Phoenix. Although it does not go between states, it is the main freeway that takes people up to popular destinations in Northern Arizona, including the Grand Canyon.
PALO VERDE NUCLEAR GENERATING PLANT
Construction began in 1976; it was commissioned in 1988.
Palo Verde is the largest nuclear generating facility in the U.S., averaging more than 3.2 gigawatts of electrical power. Located in Wintersburg (45 miles west of Phoenix), it serves 4M people. APS owns 29.1% the plant and also operates it.
COLORADO RIVER DAM SYSTEM: GLEN CANYON AND HOOVER DAMS
Glen Canyon: Construction began in 1956 and the dam opened in 1966.
Hoover: Constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression; it was dedicated on Sept. 30, 1935, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Glen Canyon: This dam is the second largest on the Colorado River at Page. Its main purpose includes generating electrical power, water storage and recreation activities. The dam generates an average of 451 megawatts, which contributes 6% of the total electricity generated in Arizona. The Colorado River caused the Glen Canyon, which lies to the north of the dam, to become flooded and has subsequently created the large reservoir called Lake Powell. Hoover Dam: Once known as Boulder Dam, this concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River sits on the border between Arizona and Nevada. The dam’s generators provide power for public and private utilities in Nevada, Arizona and California.
CENTRAL ARIZONA PROJECT
Construction began in 1973 and new and modified dams built as part of the project were completed in 1994.
The Central Arizona Project (CAP) is a 336-mile canal that diverts water from the Colorado River at Lake Havasu City into Central and Southern Arizona. It is the largest and most expensive aqueduct system ever built in the U.S.
PHOENIX SKY HARBOR INT’L AIRPORT
Sky Harbor has been operating under its current name prior to 1935, when it was purchased by the city of Phoenix. Terminal 1 was built in 1952.
Sky Harbor began serving American Airlines and Bonanza Air (Frontier Airlines) and TWA in the 1950s. Today Sky Harbor is the primary regional hub and Mexico gateway for Tempe-based US Airways, its largest operator. Both US Airways and Southwest Airlines operate out of Sky Harbor’s Terminal 4, which handles about 80% of airport traffic.
ARIZONA’S MILITARY BASES
Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson: Established in 1935 as Davis-Monthan Landing Field; Luke AFB, Glendale: 1941; Williams AFB, Mesa (now Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport): Opened 1941 and closed in 1993.
D-M: The host unit at the base is the 355th Fighter Wing. It provides A-10 Thunderbolt II close-air support, which was crucial in the Gulf War. Luke: The 56th Fighter Wing (56 FW) is the host wing at Luke and is composed of four groups of 27 squadrons, including eight fighter squadrons. The base population includes about 7,000 military and civilian members and 15,000 family members. With about 80,000 retired military members living in Greater Phoenix, the base services a total population of more than 100,000. Williams: It was an active training base for the Army and the Air Force. Before closing in 1993, it was the leading pilot training center of the USAF, supplying 25% of its pilots. Since its closure it is now the civilian Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
ROOSEVELT LAKE AND DAM
Dedicated in March 1911 by President Theodore Roosevelt, for whom it was named.
This reservoir formed by Theodore Roosevelt Lake (now called Roosevelt Lake) and Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River is part of the Salt River Project (SRP). Located 80 miles northeast of Phoenix, the reservoir (created by a masonry dam) is the largest lake located entirely within the state of Arizona. Roosevelt Lake is a popular recreation destination within the Tonto National Forest. Roosevelt is the oldest of the six reservoirs constructed and operated by SRP. It also has the largest storage capacity of the SRP lakes, with the ability to store 1.6 M acre-feet of water.
METRO PHOENIX FREEWAY SYSTEM
Loop 101: 1988, completed in 2001 to the present; 202: 1990 to the present; State Route 51 (Piestewa Parkway): U.S. 60 (Superstition Freeway): Truck U.S. 60, 1966.
101: This semi-beltway encompasses much of Metro Phoenix and connects Valley suburbs, including Tolleson, Glendale, Peoria, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe and Chandler. 202: This beltway encompasses the East Valley and navigates and surrounds Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, and Gilbert, making it very vital to the area freeway system. 51: This is the only new freeway to be built through central Phoenix other than I-10. It was renamed from Squaw Peak Parkway to Piestewa Freeway in honor of Lori Piestewa, who was killed in Iraq. 60: Like most of the East-West U.S. routes, 60 was cut short of its final destination by the I-10.
SUN CITY, ARIZONA
Construction began in the 1960s as a Del Webb community and was built on what was once the ghost town of Marinette.
The Sun City development established Arizona as a state for retirees. Little has changed for the community in the past 40 years. However, as more people retired to the area, Del Webb began construction on Sun City West in the late-1970s, Sun City Grand in the late-1990s, Sun City Anthem in 1999, and Sun City Festival in July 2006.